From the AP:
A real estate group says sales of existing homes plummeted far more than expected last month as buyers reeled from October’s big plunge on Wall Street. The median sales price fell by the largest amount on record.
The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales of existing homes fell 8.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.49 million in November, from a downwardly revised pace of 4.91 million in October.
Sales had been expected to fall to a pace of 4.9 million units. according to Thomson Reuters.
The median sales price plunged 13.2 percent in November to $181,300, from $208,000 a year ago. That was the lowest price since February 2004 and the biggest year-over-year drop on records going back to 1968.
Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. fell more than forecast in November and prices dropped by the most on record, indicating the real estate slump will extend into a fourth year and worsen the recession.
Purchases declined 8.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.49 million, from a 4.91 million rate in October that was less than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median price dropped 13.2 percent from a year earlier, the biggest decline since records started in 1968. Separately, the Commerce Department reported today that new-home sales fell 2.9 percent last month.
Prices will plunge further as job losses sap demand, foreclosures add to the property glut and prospective buyers get turned away by mortgage lenders. The Federal Reserve this month cut its benchmark interest rate target to as low as zero and said it would take more steps to ease borrowing as the longest postwar recession looms.
“Foreclosures are prolonging the declines in home prices,” Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse Holdings in New York, said before the report. “Increasing unemployment is a continued impediment to housing.”
Resales were forecast to fall to a 4.93 million annual rate from an originally reported 4.98 million in October, according to the median estimate of 63 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Projections ranged from 3.98 million to 5.2 million.
Sales dropped 10.6 percent compared with a year earlier. Resales averaged 5.67 million in 2007 and before today’s report, fluctuated around a 4.96 million rate this year.
The number of previously-owned unsold homes on the market at the end of November represented 11.2 months’ worth at the current sales pace, up from 10.3 months’ at the end of the prior month.
The median price of an existing home fell to $181,300, and the percentage drop from a year ago was “probably the largest price decline since the Great Depression,” although records don’t go back that far, said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 45 percent of last month’s home purchases, Yun said.
With plummeting prices, resales of U.S. single-family homes and condos dropped 8.6% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.49 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Resales are down 10.6% in the past year. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected sales to fall to an annual rate of 4.9 million. In the past year the median sales price fell 13.2% — the largest decline since data collection began in 1968 and likely since the Great Depression — to $181,300. The inventory of unsold homes on the market rose 0.1% to 4.2 million, an 11.2 month supply at the current sales pace. NAR attributed November’s poor results to the weak stock market, job losses and low consumer confidence.
U.S. new home sales fell to their lowest level in over 17 years in November, the Commerce Department estimated Tuesday. New home sales fell 2.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 407,000. This is the lowest level since 401,000 in January 1991. New home sales are 35.3% below their level in November 2007. The drop was slightly above the 400,000 pace expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. New-home sales in October were revised to a 419,000 level compared with the previous estimate of 433,000. The months’ supply of homes on the market fell slightly to 11.5 months in November from 11.8 months in October. Median sales prices have fallen 11.5% in the past year to $220,400.
ales of newly built single-family homes slowed in November to the weakest levels since 1991, according to Commerce Department data on Tuesday that offered fresh evidence of housing market distress.
The seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 407,000 was down 2.9 percent from October and was the lowest rate since January, 1991.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales would notch a 420,000 rate compared with a downwardly revised 419,000 in October, previously reported as 433,000.
The median sales price rose to $220,400 from $214,600 in October. The median marks the half-way point, with half of all houses sold above that level and half below.