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WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (AFP) – Pending home sales edged lower in June after hitting a six-year high in May, under pressure from rising mortgage rates, an industry group said Monday.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its index for pending sales, reflecting sales contracts signed, slipped 0.4 percent to 110.9 in June from a downwardly revised 111.3 in May.

The decline was much smaller than the average analyst estimate of a 1.7 percent drop following the May spike to the highest pace since December 2006.

“Mortgage interest rates began to rise in May, taking some of the momentum out of contract activity in June,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a statement.

“The persistent lack of inventory also is contributing to lower contract signings.”

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, acknowledged the June dip could be seen as evidence of housing already being hurt by the rise in mortgage rates.

“But the drop paled in comparison with the surge in May, consistent with it being a pause and the trend remaining upward,” he said.

Despite the dip, pending home sales were 10.9 percent higher than in June 2012 as the housing market recovers from the collapse of a price bubble in 2006.

The NAR projected existing-home sales, the lion’s share of the U.S. market, would rise more than 8.0 percent and the median price would jump almost 11 percent in 2013.

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Jimmy Kimmel Delivers Emotional Monologue Following Texas School Shooting

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The totally needless killing of 19 school children and 2 teachers in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas shows once again that we're a nation on the verge of total disaster. Republicans refuse to get on board with Democrats and enact essential gun reforms despite most Americans clamoring for them. Indeed, it seems schools will have to change their name to Uterus if Republicans will start regulating guns.

Never a stranger to controversy and nailing hypocritical Republicans, Jimmy Kimmel began his show without an audience on Wednesday and delivered a poignant monologue about the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Kimmel blasted feckless Republicans by saying most Americans support common-sense gun laws, but the legislation stalled “because our cowardly leaders just aren’t listening to us ― they’re listening to the NRA.”

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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