WASHINGTON - Americans bought fewer existing homes in September than in August due to higher mortgage rates and rising prices.
The National Association of Realtors says sales of re-sold homes fell 1.9% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.29 million. That's down from a pace of 5.39 million in August.
The sales pace in August equaled July's pace and both were the highest in four years; signs of consistency within a healthy market.
Most economists expect housing will continue to recover, especially now that mortgage rates have stabilized in recent months.
Final sales in September reflected contracts signed in July and August, when rates were about a percentage point higher than in May.
Home prices have risen about 12% in the past year.