Home sales are declining as a result of high mortgage rates, and they are on pace to reach levels seen during the Great Recession.

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A grim combination of news was presented by Thursday's home sales figures: Since the aftermath of the Great Recession, there has been a significant decline in the number of existing homes sold. While mortgage rates are at their highest point in 23 years, prices are stubbornly high.

Since 2000, monthly annualized home sales have been around 5.3 million. Only eight other months, all of which came after the financial crisis of 2007–2008, had sales that were lower than those of September, including July 2010, which saw sales drop to a low of 3.45 million.

why home sales are still declining?

In recent months, housing experts have theorized that a few problems have kept prices high and discouraged prospective buyers. They include:

increased costs. The median sales price of $394,300 in September ranks among the top 10 months since 2000 and is the only one to be in the fall, when values typically decline.

Inventory shortages: Based on the current sales pace, there is just 3.4 months' worth of housing inventory available. There would be a 4- to 5-month supply in a housing market where buyers and sellers are more evenly distributed.

High mortgage rates: People who bought homes recently and took advantage of historically low mortgage rates aren't interested in getting new mortgages, which could have rates that are more than double what they are now.