November 24, 2008

Existing home sales dropped in October

Existing home sales fell by a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent in October after gains made in September, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.

Sales of single-family homes, town homes, condominiums and co-ops declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million units in the month, the association said.

In September, the rate was 5.14 million units. A year ago in October the annual sales rate was 5.06 million units, the report said.

Total inventory of 4.23 million homes on the market would take 10.2 months to sell at current prices, an increase over September's supply schedule of 10 months, the report said.

The national median price for existing homes in the month was $183.300. It dropped 11.3 percent from a year ago.

Many potential home buyers appear to have withdrawn from the market due to the stock market collapse and deteriorating economic conditions, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

We have favorable affordability conditions, but we need more than that to give buyers with jobs the confidence they need, he added.

When many homes are being sold below replacement construction costs ... buyers remain in the driver's seat, NAR President Charles McMillan said.