From the BBC:
Contracts for sales of previously-owned homes plunged a record 30% in May, far higher than expected.
The figures came in a survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
A tax break, designed to boost sales, was withdrawn at the end of April, and a fall in deals was expected, but at around 12%, more than half the level actually recorded.
The break had galvanised the market, but these figures show it has floundered without it.
The NAR said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in May, not only fell by a record amount, but hit a record low of 77.6, from 110.9 in April.
The number of contracts to purchase previously owned houses plunged in May by more than twice as much as forecast after a homebuyer tax credit expired.
“Demand will be pretty depressed in the next few months,” Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, said before the report. “We’re still going to have a big overhang of foreclosures. There’s potential for prices to slow down a lot more.”
The index is 15.9 percent lower than May 2009 and fell sharply in all regions of the country.
Contracts fell 33.3 percent in the South, the country’s largest region, and dropped 20.9 percent in the West. Contracts dropped 31.6 percent in the Northeast and fell 32.1 percent in the Midwest.