The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that existing home sales dropped 5.3% last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.49 million units from a rate of 4.74 million in December.According to the Realtors' press release, the January year-over-year decline was 7.1%. The Northeast had the biggest decline in sales, both YoY and MoM, while the West had the biggest decline in prices.
January sales were the lowest since July 1997, and were far below the consensus estimate of 4.79 million units, according to a survey of economists compiled by Briefing.com. ...
The national median existing-home price was $170,300 in January, down nearly 15% from last year when the median price was $199,800. ...
Existing home sales unexpectedly rose in December as rock-bottom prices attracted some buyers in certain distressed markets. That led some analysts to speculate that the housing market was nearing its bottom after months of weak sales and falling prices.
But January's figures suggested otherwise, notes Weiss Research analyst Mike Larson.
"Another false dawn? That's what December looks like, considering the dismal performance of the existing home market last month," Larson wrote in a research report.
While tight credit and waning consumer confidence continue to depress home sales, the biggest challenge facing the housing market is unemployment, Larson said.
"If Americans are worried they won't have a job next month, next quarter, or next year, you've got a real problem," he said. "It doesn't matter if mortgage rates are 3% or 8%. People just aren't going to buy many houses."
Thursday, February 26, 2009
January existing home sales decline
Existing home sales fell 5.3% month-over-month: