(New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island MSA showing some stabilization with prices down only 0.5% year over year in September, and sales up 0.4%)
From the WSJ:
Sales of previously occupied homes in the U.S. dipped slightly last month, a sign of continuing weakness in a depressed part of the economy.
Existing-home sales decreased by 3.0% in September from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. August’s sales pace was revised upward to 5.06 million per year.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected home sales to fall by 2.6% to an annual rate of 4.90 million.
The market is “in a holding pattern. It’s not breaking out,” said Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist.
Sales were up 11.3% from the same month a year earlier. The median sales price was $165,400, down 3.5% from $171,400 a year earlier.
The inventory of previously owned homes listed for sale, meanwhile, fell at the end of September to 3.48 million. That represented an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with a healthy level of about six months. Foreclosures and other distressed properties represented about 30% of sales, the Realtors group said.
More than five years after the housing bubble started to burst,the housing market remains a heavy burden on the economy.
A massive supply of foreclosed properties and a shortage of buyers who are able to purchase a home amid tight lending standards are holding down prices in much of the country.
Meanwhile, consumers remain uncertain about whether the market will take another turn for the worse and are hesitant about making a big purchase. Mortgage lending for home purchases was at the lowest point in nearly 15 years last week, despite mortgage rates that have been hovering above record lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.
Sales of existing homes fell in September, extending a pattern of declines and gains that show the industry continues to be buffeted by consumer pessimism and unemployment above 9 percent.
Purchases dropped 3 percent to a 4.91 million annual rate, matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median price dropped 3.5 percent from a year ago and about one in five real-estate agents polled said contracts had been canceled, the group said.
Sales of existing single-family homes decreased 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.33 million. Purchases of multifamily properties, including condominiums and townhouses, climbed 1.8 percent to a 580,000 pace.
Purchases dropped in three of four regions, led by an 8.8 percent decrease in the West. The West is probably the area most affected by the recent reduction in conforming loan limits, Yun said. Sales in the Northeast gained 2.6 percent, perhaps reflecting a rebound from Hurricane Irene, he said.