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US existing home sales slipped 2.3% in April as supplies tighten

U.S. home resales fell more than economists were expecting in April, weighed down by a "stubborn" shortage of houses on the market that's keeping prices high and sidelining prospective buyers.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on Wednesday that existing home sales declined 2.3 percent, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million units, last month.

Economists were expecting existing home sales in April to fall by 1.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

"Demand is easily outstripping supply in most of the country and it's stymieing many prospective buyers from finding a home to purchase," Lawrence Yun, an economist for the group, said in a statement.

This, after home sales surged in March to their highest pace in over 10 years, as severe supply shortages resulted in the typical home selling significantly faster in March than in February, NAR reported last month.

Existing home sales rose 4.4 percent for the month of March and prior to that fell 3.7 percent during February.

Despite April's 2.3 percent decline, last month's sales pace marks the fourth highest over the past 12 months. March's sales pace has been revised down to 5.7 million units, which remains the highest level since February 2007.

Meanwhile, the median home price increased 6 percent, to $244,800, from a year ago in April, the highest level since June 2016.

The NAR's existing home sales data measures sales and prices of existing single-family homes for the nation overall, providing breakdowns for the West, Midwest, South and Northeast regions of the U.S. These figures also include condos and co-ops.

—Reuters contributed to this report.