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Ten-X: Housing slump may be temporary

Demand remains strong

Aerial view of houses

Fewer Americans are buying homes.

However, the jury is still out whether the current slowdown is a seasonal blip or a more permanent trend.

On the one hand, it’s the holidays. And on the other, rising mortgage rates certainly aren’t helping either.

Ten-X, an online real estate transaction marketplace, released its latest Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast revealing a monthly decrease in December existing home sales.

According to the Nowcast, December sales will fall between seasonally adjusted annual rates of 5.33 and 5.69 million, with a targeted number of 5.51 million.

That’s down 1.8% from November, but up 0.9% from the year-ago level.

"It's possible that we're seeing the effect of rising mortgage rates slowing down existing home sales," said Ten-X Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. "It's also possible that we may see the numbers trend upwards as buyers decide to enter the market before interest rates go even higher."

Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio takes the news with a grain of salt, pointing to strengths in housing as overcoming modest decreases due to seasonality and market volatility.

"As we round out 2016, the U.S. housing market continues to benefit from a strong labor market, as solid job gains, low unemployment and promising wage growth fuel a high level of underlying demand for homes," Muoio said.

"While there are still headwinds to sales growth in the way of tight inventory, low affordability and the likelihood of mortgage rate increases, solid fundamentals continue pointing to the overall health of the housing market," he added.

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