Sales of existing homes in the U.S. rose slightly in December after three consecutive months of decline , at a time when the record lows for interest rates and increased demand continue holding a housing market recovery .
The National Association of Realtors (NAR for its acronym in English ) said Thursday that sales of existing homes rose 1.0 percent last month to an annual rate of 4.87 million units.
Total sales in 2013 was the highest in seven years.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales of existing homes increased at a rate of 4.94 million units in December.
" For the full year , is a good recovery," said NAR economist Lawrence Yun told reporters.
"We lost momentum towards the end of 2013 ," he added .
Home sales have been affected by a sharp increase in mortgage rates from the spring and the recent price increases.
However, other indicators show that the sector is healthy and that a strong rebound in household formation has encouraged the demand and interest of the builders to carry out new projects.
Yun said two opposing forces are impacting on the market : a mismatch between a price increase with a weak revenue growth , which has made homeownership less affordable for many Americans.
The median price of existing homes rose 9.9 percent to 198,000 in December from the same month in 2012.
Prices have risen sharply mainly due to a shortage of homes on the market . The number of homes for sale is relatively tight , and the inventory of unsold homes fell 9.3 percent from the previous month to 1.86 million .