Demand for available homes remains strong, but people willing to list good homes for sale are hesitant.

Home price growth gained strength in October, according to this week's S&P/Case-Shiller report, even as more recent indicators suggest the pace of home sales has dramatically lost momentum as the year draws to a close.

This analysis from Wall Street Journal staffer Laura Kusisto attributes the bi-directional trend--rising prices and falling pace--to the relative scarcity of for-sale inventory listed for-sale on the market, a catalyst of demand. Kusisto writes:

While price growth has remained strong and steady throughout the year, the pace of sales has continued to ricochet, in part because of a shortage of inventory.

Sales of existing homes plunged 10.5% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million, the National Association of Realtors said last week—the sharpest decline since July 2010.

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