Pending home sales in the United States fell sharply last month, dropping by near-double digits as the once-white-hot housing market continues to cool. 

Sales “declined 8.6% from May as escalating mortgage rates and housing prices impacted potential buyers,” the National Association of Realtors said in a Wednesday press release

“Contract signings to buy a home will keep tumbling down as long as mortgage rates keep climbing, as has happened this year to date,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in the release.

“There are indications that mortgage rates may be topping or very close to a cyclical high in July,” he continued, adding: “If so, pending contracts should also begin to stabilize.”

Interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve—undertaken in an effort to stem off spiraling inflation—have helped drive up mortgage rates and throw cold water on a real estate market that for the past two years has seen relentless upward price migration. 

The NAR said its data indicate “buying a home in June was about 80% more expensive than in June 2019.”

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