Pending home sales tumbled 3.7% in December, widely missing expectations.
Over the prior year, pending home sales rose 8.5% in December, but far less than what economists had been expecting.
Expectations were for the report to show pending home sales rose 0.5% in December compared to the prior month and 10.5% over last year.
In November, pending home sales rose 0.8% against the prior month and 1.7% over last year.
Following Thursday's report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro wrote: "In one line: Disappointing; housing still struggling."
Shepherdson added that if Thursday's number holds up and doesn't turn out to be the result of seasonal adjustment, then existing home sales in January are likely to fall to an 8-month low.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said following Thursday's report that a decrease in inventory and an acceleration in prices were the likely causes of December's decline in pending home sales.
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