September home sales disappoint, but post year-over-year gains

(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:

US Sep Existing-Home Sales Dip Slightly

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.

From Bloomberg:

Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Fell as Forecast in September

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.

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56 Responses to September home sales disappoint, but post year-over-year gains

  1. Juice Box says:


  2. Shore Guy says:

    It is the best of all possible worlds.

  3. Shore Guy says:

    At least, that is what Pangloss told me.

  4. grim says:

    From NJ Today:

    NJ Jobs, Unemployment Rate Fell In September

    Even though New Jersey shed 11,100 jobs in September, the state’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 9.2 percent, moving closer to the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent, according to figures released today.

    Preliminary estimates indicate that total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey decreased in September to a seasonally adjusted 3,860,100, as measured by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly employer survey. Both the public (-5,300) and private (-5,800) sectors lost jobs. Despite the September reduction, private sector employment is up by 32,600 jobs since January of this year.

    “While this second consecutive monthly drop in the unemployment rate is good news, the weakness in payroll employment figures is disappointing. The effects of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee may have held down our job count in September but, even so, the figures suggest that we have not been immune to the recent softness in national job formation,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

    Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released August estimates were shown to have been better than first reported. The estimate of total employment in August was revised higher, up by 4,600 jobs, to show an over-the-month (July-August) total nonfarm employment loss of 2,500 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month loss of 7,100 jobs, largely the result of the since concluded Verizon strike.

  5. grim says:

    From Philly Burbs:

    Philadelphia Fed: Manufacturing conditions improve in October

    Regional manufacturing activity showed signs of improvement this month, with executives reporting higher activity in shipments, orders and overall business conditions, according to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s latest Business Outlook Survey.

    The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions increased from — 17.5 in September to 8.7 this month — the first positive reading in three months. The indexes for new orders and shipments also rose into positive territory.

    A positive index reading means a higher percentage of manufacturing companies reported an increase in a particular category than reported a decrease.

    Nearly 18 percent of firms surveyed reported an increased in hiring for October, while 17 percent reported a decrease. That led to an index reading of 1.4, down from 5.8 in September.

    Manufacturing executives were more optimistic about future business conditions, sending the future general activity index to 27.2, the highest reading in six months.

  6. Dan says:

    I can afford the car but debating whether at 2.9% for five years to let it float. At 5.9%, no way am I borrowing but at 2.9%, not so sure.

  7. Libtard on VX251 enroute to Vegas says:

    Anyone jealous?

  8. 3B says:

    Anyone familiar with Single Premium Mortgage Insurance (grim/clot 30 year?)

  9. Shore Guy says:

    When you are on a jet to Grenada, then I will be shining green with envy. Vegas? Not so much. Enjoy.

  10. grim says:

    6 – Would you consider the interest paid on the loan as the premium for the insurance policy that lets you sleep better at night?

    I’ll tell you, I really miss my “go to hell” fund.

  11. NJGator says:

    Yes, a bit of a promotional piece, but interesting factoid – 18% of current Montclair listings are short. Similar numbers for Maplewood.

    And the midday Acela is so much more civilized than rush hour.

  12. 3B says:

    #10 grim: Sorry, you went right over my head, not following you.

  13. Double Down says:

    Dan, get the car loan, pay it off in 12 months or less. Good for your credit score.

  14. Nicholas says:


    I would ask the dealership of how much the car would cost “without” the 2.9% financing. I went looking for a new car over the last month and have walked out of three dealerships with no sale.

  15. 3B says:

    RU From yesterday. That house near TD Bank (Christie Street) closed for 170K.

  16. Anon E. Moose says:

    Lib [7];

    That one of those Virgin Air flights with the mile-high-club-appproved bathrooms?

  17. Anon E. Moose says:

    3b [12];

    I suspect Grim’s “go to hell” fund was recently reclassified as downpayment and home improvement monies; no longer nearly as liquid.

  18. 3B says:

    #17 I thought as much on that part. I was wondering what his thoughts were on the Single Premium Mortgage Insurance thing.

  19. JJ says:

    I always read that six months living expeneses stuff, why not five months, why not five years. Seems like a randon number.

  20. Confused in NJ says:

    Be interesting to see what replaces Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. Usually our track record takes us from the frying pan to the fire.

  21. Confused in NJ says:

    19.JJ says:
    October 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm
    I always read that six months living expeneses stuff, why not five months, why not five years. Seems like a randon number

    Six months living expenses tracked with six months unemployment insurance. The new metric is two years plus.

  22. Confused in NJ says:

    Actually with the bozo’s in charge, better plan on 5-10 years living expenses.

  23. Double Down says:,0,1982231.story

    The president got a polite reception from the 100 or so people crowded into the station garage. Early in his speech he mentioned his American Jobs Act.

    One or two people clapped.

    “You can go ahead and clap,” the president said. “Go ahead, nothing wrong with it.”

  24. Double Down says:,0,1982231.story

    On Wednesday afternoon, Obama stood at a lectern against a backdrop of firefighters and offered his prescription for solving the persistent jobs crisis: “A fair shot for everybody; a fair share from everybody.


    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” – Karl Marx

  25. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    DD, it would have been better if Chairman O was tapping the mic and asking it it was on.

    Confused, short of having a nuke Quadafi in his prime was a crazy f*cker. The last few years not so much. just bring every one home and watch them all kill themselves from the sidelines. In in the end Isreal will just nuke them all.

  26. nj escapee says:

    Anyone coming down to Key West for Fantasy Fest?

  27. Nicholas says:

    Six months is because if you have to go homeless in the winter you probably are not going to do so well, perhaps even freeze on the street. That gives you enough time to make it to spring where sleeping in your car might sound like a good idea.

    You need time to downsize and get out of the way of the oncomming poverty train, six months gives you just enough time to get out of obligations and make contingency plans. Three months isn’t enough cause you still in denial eating hagan-das on your couch watching TV. Eight months is too long because by then your job-seeking network contacts go stale.

  28. JJ says:

    Ok realtors smack down time. Contest is for who can locate the cheapest four bedroom single family home in tri-state area with a decent commute to New York City.

    My first entry is the lovely fixer upper in Bronx priced at $8,900 and yes it is a single family detached house!

    Address: 78B EDGEWATER PARK 7
    BRONX, NY 10465
    Broker: HASSELT RLTY
    Telephone: (718) 892-1700
    Price: $8,900
    Total Rooms: 4
    Bedrooms: 2
    Bathrooms: 1.00
    Property ID: 671576
    First Look: No

  29. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    JJ problem is it is in the Bronx

  30. All these statistics are lies. Housing is dead for 50-100 years.

    Back to the ramparts.

  31. grim says:

    It’s only 4 rooms, not a 4 bedroom.

  32. Dan says:

    To JJ, if it’s a room, you can sleep in it.

  33. chicagofinance says:

    JJ: nice canz….

  34. chicagofinance says:

    Does it have a garage?

    Dan says:
    October 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm
    To JJ, if it’s a room, you can sleep in it.

  35. chicagofinance says:

    JJ after a night at Canzaciti:

    His shenanigans landed him in hot water.

    A Queens driver fleeing the scene of an accident ended up crashing into a boat in the Hawtree Basin after he lost control of his van, police said.

    The unidentified man, who was driving a van for Ernst & Young, sideswiped another vehicle while he was cruising east bound on the Belt Parkway, police said.

    His jaunt came to a startling end when he plowed through a fence on Russell Street in Howard Beach at about 8:50 a.m. and landed on top of a boat moored near 102nd Street.

    “What a way to start the morning,” fumed Frank Argento, the owner of the 1986 Wellcraft. “My boat is probably gone. This is a little take in the back.”

  36. Fabius Maximus says:

    Got Popcorn, this is getting good.

  37. JJ says:

    I always forget is the Bronx better or worse than Jersey. Actually that house is waterfront near transportation!!!

    Painhrtz – I ain’t dead yet says:
    October 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm
    JJ problem is it is in the Bronx

  38. relo says:

    23: Unexpected! A little slow on the uptake, eh?

    26: Will be purchasing a one way ticket w/in 5 years. See you there.

  39. chicagofinance says:

    “Imagine some combination of Model U.N., Lord of the Flies and a Phish concert.”

    OCTOBER 20, 2011, 7:18 A.M. ET
    Squatting on Wall Street

    Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park recalls the uncivilized New York of the 1980s.


    There is a must-see YouTube of an Occupy Wall Street event in Atlanta, where a facilitator with a bullhorn leads “protesters” through a weird “consensus” vote to bar civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis from speaking. A writer at summed up the scene and I’d say the entire OWS movement: “Imagine some combination of Model U.N., Lord of the Flies and a Phish concert.”

    After last Saturday’s global OWS demos, some asked how long a leaderless movement could last. Answer: As long as the President of the United States wants, or needs, it to last. According to a Washington Post report, “President Obama and his team have decided to turn public anger at Wall Street into a central tenet of their reelection strategy.”

    And so on Sunday, Mr. Obama found a way to yoke Martin Luther King Jr. to Occupy Wall Street: “If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there.” Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has praised OWS for its “spontaneity.”

    What came to be known as Occupy Wall Street began several blocks from Wall Street itself, in Zuccotti Park, in downtown Manhattan. I spent a morning in Zuccotti Park this week. Let’s put it this way: I’d make a contribution to the Democratic House re-election committee to see Mrs. Pelosi lead the austere Steny Hoyer and a delegation of her House colleagues through Zuccotti Park. Spontaneity? Most of the people living atop the park’s pavement are virtually catatonic.

    A conventional wisdom has taken hold that somewhere deep inside the Middle Earth of Occupy Wall Street there is supposed to be a serious cry for jobs. Maybe at an OWS demo in Detroit. But not in Zuccotti Park.

    Spread across a city block, the park’s people have settled into a barely moving mass of down-market grunge “occupying” a marijuana oasis. Compared to this group, Mark Rudd and the Columbia University sit-ins of 1968 were Periclean Athens.

    After a while, a New Yorker finally realizes what he is seeing: It’s the reincarnation of the squatters movement that occupied Tompkins Square Park on the Lower East Side in the 1980s. Starting in the Koch administration, Tompkins Square, between Avenue A and Avenue B, became a primary symbol of New York’s social and civil disintegration. Filled with illegal squatters who refused to leave, Tompkins Square and its surrounding neighborhood became a magnet for drug freaks, organizers of pro-Sandinista rallies, homeless people, bad musicians and a lot of very lost kids.

    The old Lower East Side ethos of the 1970s and ’80s has never disappeared from New York City, so no surprise that it is now living in Zuccotti Park, bringing with it a retinue of “activists” promoting bargain-basement progressive politics. Only in the modern era of nonstop media exaggeration of anything that isn’t normal could “Occupy Wall Street” transform into a global movement transfixing the world and eliciting the tender mercies of America’s political elite. Mayor Mike Bloomberg may be heading toward the same squatters hell once occupied by Ed Koch, David Dinkins and Rudolph Giuliani.

    New York City is spending millions on police overtime to protect OWS’s “First Amendment rights” in the park. I saw how it works. A guy got up on a box to wave a sign, “Google: Jewish billionaires.” This discomfited some of the Zuccotti inhabitants, aware of anti-Semitism charges against the movement, so an OWSer in an undershirt and porkpie hat poured coffee down the guy’s back, who called out to demand his constitutional rights from a bemused-looking senior NYPD official. The cops led away the coffee pourer, with drums beating in the background, the Constitution’s chorus.

    It is a laugh to think the President of the United States would actually align his re-election interests with this motley crew. His serious base—say, the offices of—normally wouldn’t allow these Zuccotti Park people inside their back door (because they’d never leave). But now they’re part of the Obama campaign.

    Everyone keeps saying the OWS movement doesn’t seem to have a coherent or identifiable “agenda.” Who needs an agenda? With the whole world’s media in Zuccotti Park looking for meaning, every OWSer has a shot at addressing the world. An earnest woman with a camcorder bent over to interview a guy, who, lying amid boxes, attempted to explain “what we’re about.”

    As for demon Wall Street itself, possibly the occupiers have noticed that the streets of New York’s famed financial district are filled mostly with modest working people who take trains from the outer boroughs or the ferry from Staten Island, not “millionaires.” The New York Comptroller’s office just predicted that 10,000 of them will lose their jobs by year’s end, having already lost 20,000 since 2008. Wall Street is so evil it’s annihilating its own people!

    What we have is a complex $14 trillion American economy with a growth rate below 2% and nominal 9% unemployment the past two years. At such an awful level of growth, bad things happen to people at all strata of American life. The road up from sub-2% growth will be a steep climb. Drained of answers, an increasingly desperate presidency is traveling the country now, at the front of what is fundamentally a rolling circus called Occupy Wall Street.

  40. NjescaPee says:

    When I was a kid I was walking through TSP back in the late 60s was surrounded by junkies on one end while the other exit on the other side was closed. Scary stuff back then.

  41. Shore Guy says:

    “Fantasy Fest?”

    Is that some kind of realtor convention where they reinforce the message to each other that “this is a GREAT time to buy”?

  42. NjescaPee says:

    Shore. Kinda sorta Mardi Gras

  43. NjescaPee says:

    Chi fi, my buddy just told me that a NYC taxi medallion just went for a cool million bucks. All I can say is wow!

  44. Somebody wake me up when the OWS zombies can figure out how to throw a proper riot.

  45. 3b says:

    #29 Don’t knock the Bronx, lots of nice neighborhoods still there. Oh and lots of Bergen County is starting to look like the not so nice areas of teh Bronx. Lots of the urban decay all around. It is the born and bred Bergenite’s worst nightmare, that Bergen Co, would become the Bronx.

    Always found that funny, why pick in teh Brons when you have Newark,Paterson, and all the rest.

  46. NjescaPee says:

    The Bronx is okay. Places like Throggs Neck and Country Club are nice and pretty safe

  47. yo says:

    Few Americans take immigrants’ jobs in Ala.
    Potato farmer Keith Smith saw most of his Hispanic workers leave after Alabama’s tough immigration law took effect, so he hired Americans. It hasn’t worked out, some quit after a single day.

  48. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Isn’t there a huge game being played with “median” prices? The concept is valid, but the present market skews this data element. Take any blue-ribbony town, for example. The very high end of the market typically had very few properties come on the market as these houses were occupied (notice I didn’t say owned) by high net worth individuals with probably a pretty good equity stake as these properties didn’t turn over too often. Now the market in these towns is kind of upside down, where the high end has equity and wants to turn these properties over. It’s the middle and the low end that are under water or treading it and consequently locked in. So the median price is rising in certain places because high end properties are coming to market where in the past they wouldn’t and low end properties are not coming to market like they always have. Maybe price/square foot is the answer? Price/acre? I don’t know, but rising median prices aren’t indicative of a healing market in the better towns.

  49. grim says:

    Mix shift?

  50. RU says:

    #15. Thanks 3b. Had to be a contractor. House probably needs to be knocked down. Did you see the house on Richard Ct. sold for 281k?

  51. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [2] shore

    “At least, that is what Pangloss told me.”

    Pangloss was a fool. Candide would survive better in New Jersey.

  52. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    #50 – grim Mix shift?

    Never heard of the term before, but that’s exactly it. Thanks for a new Google search phrase.

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  54. Elric says:

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