FILE- In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo a realtor sign marks a home for sale in Franklin Park, Pa. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the National Association of Realtors reports on sales of existing homes in December. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

US home sales plummeted 6.4 percent in December

January 22, 2019 - 7:01 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales cratered in December, causing price growth to slip to the lowest level in nearly six years as the housing sector ended 2018 on a decidedly weak note.

The National Association of Realtors says that sales of existing homes plunged 6.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million last month, the worst pace in almost three years. For all of 2018, sales of existing homes fell 3.1 percent from a year ago to 5.34 million units, the softest total since 2015.

Home sales have slowed after years of strong price growth and modest inventories hurt affordability.

The median sales price in December was $253,600, up just 2.9 percent from last year. In a rarity, December's annual gains in hourly wages eclipsed home price growth.

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