the visible hand

it is the theory which decides what can be observed – einstein

Home sales slip 0.4% in January despite drop in prices

Posted by ecoshift on February 25, 2008

More signs of home sales weakness – CNNMoney.com

Realtors’ group report shows lowest level in existing sales since it began keeping records in 1999.
February 25 2008: 11:15 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The new year picked up where 2007 left off, as sales of existing homes fell in January to the lowest level in nearly a decade, according to a reading by an industry trade group released Monday.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales by homeowners fell 0.4% in January to an annual pace of 4.89 million, down from the revised December reading of 4.91 million. Home sales were down

The reading was the lowest since the group began reporting annual sales pace in 1999, down 23.4% from a year earlier. Nevertheless, sales narrowly beat expectations. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected the report to show existing home sales slowed to an annual pace of 4.8 million.

Despite beating forecasts, analysts remained skeptical.

“This is more doom and gloom,” said Northern Trust chief economist, Paul Kasriel. “The mind set for buyers now is, ‘if prices are falling, why do I want to buy an asset that’s going down in price?'”

The median price of a home sold during the month fell 4.6% to $201,100 from $210,900 a year earlier. Before the start of the current housing slump, it had been 11 years since prices fell compared to a year earlier.

The median price of a single-family home dropped to the lowest point since February 2005, falling 5.1% to $198,700. The trade group has tracked those sales prices going back to 1989.

The excess supply of homes on the market rose in January. Realtors estimated that there are now 4.2 million homes available for sale, which represents more than a 10-month supply. That is up from the 9.7-month supply in December.

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