U.S. home sales climbed 3.6% in December. But a record-low inventory of houses on the market has caused prices to surge amid worsening affordability.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales of existing homes rose last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million.

For all of 2019, 5.34 million homes were sold, matching the 2018 level.

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