Make your home page

US home sales fell last month because of high mortgage rates, soaring prices and low inventory

A For Sale sign displayed in front of a home on February 22, in Miami./Joe Raedle/Getty Images/FILE

Washington, DC (CNN) — Home sales slumped in October and prices continued to climb, as mortgage rates surged last month and inventory remained extraordinarily low. That kept homebuyers out of the market, according to a monthly report from the National Association of Realtors released Tuesday.

Home sales remained at 13-year lows as buyers competed for the few available homes on the market and continued to push up prices. Elevated prices, together with the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage nearing 8% in October, have created the least affordable market in several decades.

The median price for existing homes — which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — climbed to $391,800 last month. That was up 3.4% from a year ago and marked the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. Prices rose in all four regions of the country, the Northeast, Midwest, South and the West, NAR found.

Higher costs to buy and finance a home pushed sales down to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 3.79 million, falling 4.1% from September and a 14.6% from a year ago, according to the report. This fell short of analysts’ expectations for a rate of 3.9 million units sold. Home sales slid from last month in the Northeast, South and West, but were unchanged in the Midwest.

“Prospective home buyers experienced another difficult month due to the persistent lack of housing inventory and the highest mortgage rates in a generation,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Multiple offers, however, are still occurring, especially on starter and mid-priced homes, even as price concessions are happening in the upper end of the market.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.