Sales of previously owned homes rose less than expected in November, suggesting the U.S. housing sector is still struggling to gain traction as high unemployment and tight lending standards continue to hamper recovery.

Sales rose 5.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual unit rate of 4.68 million units, the National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had been looking for about 4.71 million unit pace.

(Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)