But overall, 2013 represented the best year for housing since the financial crisis. Once December's figures are released, home prices will likely have risen 11.5 percent last year, according to Mark Fleming, CoreLogic's chief economist. That would be the biggest gain since 2005.
And sales of existing homes should reach 5.1 million in 2013, the National Association of Realtors forecasts. That would be up 10 percent from the previous year and the most since 2006. It's still below the 5.5 million generally associated with healthy housing markets.
Most economists expect sales and prices to keep rising this year, but at a slower pace. They forecast sales and prices will likely rise around 5 percent, down from double-digit gains in 2013.
A measure of signed contracts suggests sales are already starting to level off. The Realtors' group said last week that its index of pending home sales ticked up slightly in November after falling for five straight months.
Economists blame higher mortgage rates for dragging down sales. The average rate on a 30-year mortgage rose last week to 4.53 percent from 4.48 percent the previous week, the third straight gain.
Rates jumped about 1.25 percentage points from May through September, peaking at 4.6 percent. That increase occurred after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that the Fed would start to slow its bond-buying program before the end of the year. The purchases are intended to lower long-term interest rates and spur more borrowing and spending.
At its December meeting, the Fed said it would cut its $85 billion monthly purchases in January by $10 billion a month. Interest rates have risen since then, reflecting greater optimism about the economy and the impact of the Fed's move.