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U.S. home resales unexpectedly fall, tarnishing housing recovery

Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of Portland, Oregon, in this file photo taken March 20, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales unexpectedly fell in April as tight inventories pushed prices higher, giving a cautious signal on the strength of the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday existing home sales dropped 3.3 percent to an annual rate of 5.04 million units.

March's sales pace was revised up to 5.21 million units from the previously reported 5.19 million units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast home resales rising to a 5.24 million-unit pace last month.

The relative weakness in home resales puts a dent in what had been one of the brighter spots of the broader U.S. economy after gross domestic product barely grew in the first quarter.

The number of homes on the market last month fell 0.9 percent from a year earlier, helping push the median home price up 8.9 percent from the same month in 2014.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao)