Existing home sales fell 1.2% in October to a seasonally adjusted 4.97 million-unit rate, the National Association of Realtors announced yesterday. The sales decrease compared to the 4.95 million unit pace predicted by IFR Markets’ poll of economists and followed a revised 8.2% decline to a 5.03 million-unit level in September, originally reported as an 8.0% drop to 5.04 million units. On a year-over-year basis, sales overall were down 20.7% from a 6.27 million unit sales pace. “As noted last month, temporary mortgage problems were peaking back in August when many of the sales closed in October were being negotiated,” said NAR senior economist Lawrence Yun. “We continue to see the biggest impact in high-cost markets that rely on jumbo loans. Mortgage availability has improved as evidenced by much lower mortgage interest rates and a sharp jump in FHA endorsements for home purchases.”

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