Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell for the fourth month in a row in September, held back by surging mortgage rates and a thin supply of properties on the market. Existing home sales fell 2% last month from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.96 million, the National Association of Realtors® said Thursday. That's just above the 3.9 million unit pace that economists were expecting, according to FactSet. Sales sank 15.4% compared with the same month last year and are down 21% through the first nine months of the year versus the same period in 2022. Despite the housing market slump, home prices kept climbing versus a year ago. The national median sales price rose 2.8% from September last year to $394,300. It slipped 3.1% from August. "Clearly, the story of limited inventory and rising and rising mortgage rates continues to hinder the home sales market," said Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist.