Sales of previously owned U.S. homes dropped in January to the lowest level in more than a year as harsh winter weather combined with a lack of supply, strict lending rules and declining affordability to depress demand.
Prices for single-family homes rose in 73 percent of U.S. cities in the fourth quarter, fewer than in the previous three months, as surging values in the past two years started to reduce affordability.
Suzanne Baker and her siblings bought a foreclosed home in Atlanta two years ago, added a fourth bathroom, then waited for values to rebound before considering a sale. Now, she says, they’re ready to cash in.
Consumer spending that rose at the fastest pace in three years helped the U.S. economy grow at a 3.2 percent pace in the fourth quarter, overcoming government cutbacks and laying the foundation for a stronger expansion.