US home sales dropped sharply in November

Fewer Americans bought homes in November as buying slid to its slowest pace in six months.

The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes fell 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million. That's down from a revised pace of 5.26 million in October. Over the past 12 months, sales have risen 2.1 percent.

The combination of higher home prices and relatively stagnant incomes has reduced affordability and restrained buying activity. The recent decline in mortgage rates has yet to lure more buyers into the market, just as fewer distressed properties and bargains that attract investors are coming onto the market.

The Realtors estimate that 2014 sales will fall below 2013 levels.

Median home prices rose 5 percent over the past 12 months to $205,300.

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