Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell unexpectedly sharply in February and prices fell to their lowest in nearly nine years, an industry group said on Monday.
The National Association of Realtors said sales fell 9.6 percent month over month to an annual rate of 4.88 million units, snapping three straight months of gains. The percentage decline was the largest since July.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected February sales to fall 4.0 percent to a 5.15 million-unit pace from the previously reported 5.36 million unit rate in January, which was revised slightly up to 5.40 million.
Compared with February last year, sales were down 2.8 percent.
The median home price dropped 5.2 percent in February from a year earlier to $156,100, the lowest since April 2002.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by James Dalgleish)