The number of people who bought existing U.S. homes in November declined for the third straight month. Higher mortgage rates have made home-buying more expensive, while the lingering effect of the October government shutdown might have deterred some sales.
Home re-sales fell 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.90 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That was the weakest pace since December 2012 and the first time since April that the pace has slipped below 5 million.
Still, the Realtors’ group predicts that total sales this year will be 5.1 million. That would be the strongest since 2007, when the housing bubble burst. But it’s still below the 5.5 million generally associated with healthy housing markets. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.