U.S. sales of previously owned homes fell 5.2% in January, the most in nearly nine years, the National Assn. of Realtors said Wednesday. The 6.04 million-unit annual pace of resales last month was down from a 6.37 million-unit rate in December but up 2% from 5.92 million in January 2003, the trade group said.
Severe winter weather may have contributed to last month's drop, the biggest since a 5.2% decline in April 1995. Previously owned houses account for almost nine of every 10 homes sold.
Regionally, existing home sales were weak last month. Sales dropped by 13.2% in the Midwest; 12.5% in the Northeast and 5.7% in the West. Sales in the South rose by 2%.
Separately, the Commerce Department said Thursday that January sales of new single-family homes fell 1.7% in January to a seasonally adjusted 1.106 million annual rate, from 1.125 million in December.