The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes fell in September. Home sales are on pace to match last year's dismal figures -- the worst in 13 years.
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that home sales dropped 3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million homes. That's below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market.
The housing market has been hobbled by foreclosures, weak demand and falling home prices. Last year 4.91 million previously occupied homes were sold, the lowest level since 1997.
Link HereActivity among first-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of all sales, the same as August. First-time buyers are critical to a housing recovery because their purchases of low and moderately priced homes allow sellers to move up to more expensive homes.