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Gold remains softer after pending U.S. home sales fall 20.8% in March

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(Kitco News) - Gold remained softer Wednesday after the National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index declined 20.8% to a reading of 88.2 in March. Spot gold was last down $7.20 to $1,704.30 an ounce. Consensus estimates compiled by news organizations showed economists were expecting a decline of around 10%.

“The housing market is temporarily grappling with the coronavirus-induced shutdown, which pulled down new listings and new contracts,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “As consumers become more accustomed to social distancing protocols, and with the economy slowly and safely reopening, listings and buying activity will resume, especially given the record low mortgage rates.

“The usual spring buying season will be missed, however, so a bounce-back later in the year will be insufficient to make up for the loss of sales in the second quarter. Overall, home sales are projected to have declined 14% for the year.”

He noted that 58% of real-estate agents report buyers are using virtual tours of homes. With an ongoing housing shortage, he predicted that home prices are likely to increase in 2020.

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