WASHINGTON, D.C.: Tighter supplies and higher prices helped push sales of existing homes lower in the US market in February, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Monday.
And some data suggests that investors are increasingly crowding out hopeful occupant-homeowners in the market, according to NAR.
Sales of previously owned homes fell to an annual rate of 5.08 million units in February from 5.47 million units in January.
Still, sales were up 2.2 percent over a year ago, NAR said.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said sales were likely partly hindered as well by harsh winter weather in some areas.
“However, the main issue continues to be a supply and affordability problem. Finding the right property at an affordable price is burdening many potential buyers,” he said in a statement.
The median home price in February was $210,800, up 4.4 percent from a year ago, while inventory was down 1.1 percent from a year ago to 1.88 million homes available for sale.
Yun said an increasing number of sales are to investors, who rent the homes. About 18 percent of February purchases were by investors rather than occupants, he said.