Existing home sales in the United States declined during the month of June by a wider margin than most analysts expected, an industry report said Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors said in its update that signed contracts for existing homes declined by 20% last month compared to June 2021. The decrease from May was 8.6%. Most analysts expected the monthly decline to be about 1%.

The NAR report noted that the decline coincided with sharply higher mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association also said in an update Wednesday that overall mortgage applications were down almost 2% week-to-week and applications to refinance were off 4%. Applications to refinance are down 83% compared to this same time a year ago.

“Increased economic uncertainty and prevalent affordability challenges are dissuading households from entering the market, leading to declining purchase activity that is close to lows last seen at the onset of the pandemic,” Joel Kan, MBA associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement.

“Weakening purchase applications trends in recent months have been consistent with data showing a slowdown in sales for newly constructed homes and existing homes.”

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates again at the conclusion of its policy meeting on Wednesday, which is sure to impact the housing market. The Fed, however, says the moves are needed to rein in inflation.

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