Photo: AFP/Frederic J Brown

Existing home sales in the US this morning reported a 1.5% year-on-year decline, the latest in a series of below-consensus housing numbers.

The only surprising thing is that the consensus was surprised: sharp rises in home mortgage rates typically weaken housing demand. The last slump in existing home sales followed a spike in mortgage rates in 2014, as the chart shows, and the present situation seems more or less identical.

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