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Rebounding U.S. Housing Market Faces Headwinds

After falling for three months, the pace of existing-home sales rose in December, pushing 2013’s tally to the highest level in seven years, according to data from the National Association of Realtors . For 2013 sales hit 5.09 million, the most since 2006, and up 9.1% from the prior year.

“The data are consistent with recent weakening in sales having run its course, although evidence of a clear uptrend again is still lacking,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

However, the market faces a number of challenges this year. Mortgage rates are expected to continue to rise, cutting some purchase plans, while other buyers will just scale back their expectations. Also, low inventories may continue to restrain growth, as could new mortgage rules for lenders and borrowers.

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