Existing-home sales dropped 4.8% at an annual rate of 5.31 million in August, according to the National Association of Realtors.
This followed a 1.8% rise in July, revised lower, to an annual rate of 5.58 million.
In the release, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun wrote, "Sales activity was down in many parts of the country last month — especially in the South and West — as the persistent summer theme of tight inventory levels likely deterred some buyers."
"The good news for the housing market is that price appreciation the last two months has started to moderate from the unhealthier rate of growth seen earlier this year."
Economists had estimated that existing home sales fell 1.6% to an annual rate of 5.50 million.
The NAR also noted that the forthcoming interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve is unlikely to have a huge impact on mortgage rates – at least not immediately.
The median existing-home price was $228,700 in August, up 4.7% year-over-year, and the 42nd straight month of year-on-year gains.
Single-family home sales fell 5.3% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.69 million, while condo and co-op sales fell 1.6% to a seasonallty adjusted rate of 620,000 units.
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