Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg News
Sales of previously owned homes fell in March for the third consecutive month as rising prices and cold weather discouraged would-be buyers.
Closings, which typically take place a month or two after a contract is signed, fell 0.2% to a 4.59 million annual rate, the lowest level since July 2012, the National Association of Realtors reported April 22 in Washington.
The median forecast of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for sales to slow to a 4.56 million annual rate.
Rising home prices have outpaced wage growth, putting ownership out of reach for some Americans. Mortgage rates, while still near historic lows, have been rising, and harsh winter weather in January and February probably prevented would-be new owners from venturing out to look for real estate.