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US Home Sales Fell in December

A file photo shows a house for sale in San Diego, California, June 2012.
A file photo shows a house for sale in San Diego, California, June 2012.
U.S. home sales declined in December, but were still well above the same period one year ago.

Tuesday's report from the National Association of Realtors shows December's sales of previously-owned homes fell by one percent from the previous month.

If homes sold at December's rate for a full year, slightly more than 4.9 million homes would change owners.

Experts say December is an exception to a generally improving trend in the housing market, which is bolstered by record-low mortgage rates and improving employment.

Severe problems in the U.S. housing market played a key role in the financial crisis.

The gradual healing of the housing market may be one reason that Americans are growing less pessimistic about the economy.

A report from the Gallup public opinion polling agency says economic confidence has improved over the last few weeks, after falling amid worries about political bickering in Washington.
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