Single-family house sales dropped 10.4 percent, the most in almost two years, to a 536,000 annualized pace, Commerce Department data showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey was for 588,000.
The figures indicate that the increase in mortgage rates curbed momentum in the housing market after steady job gains and historically low borrowing costs helped push full-year sales to the highest since 2007. Stricter lending standards also remain a hurdle for buyers this year.
The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage reached 4.32 percent at the end of December, the highest since April 2014, according to Freddie Mac figures. That was up from 3.54 percent just before the Nov. 8 election. It was 4.09 percent in the week ended Jan. 19.