Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) — Sales prices for existing U.S. homes fell the most on record in November, tearing a deeper hole into households’ already tattered finances.
The median resale price fell 13 percent from a year before, to $181,300, “probably the largest price decline since the Great Depression,” National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in Washington. Sales slid to an annual rate of 4.49 million, lower than forecast.
Sliding property values mean more Americans will be under water on their mortgages, likely leading to a further increase in already record foreclosure rates. Along with the wealth destruction from slumping stock portfolios, they also undermine consumers’ purchasing power.
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“November sales just collapsed,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York. “Price declines are accelerating. As bad as this is, it’s going to be considerably worse in a month’s time.”
Separately, the Commerce Department reported today that new- home sales fell 2.9 percent last month to a 17-year low. The median sales price declined 11.5 percent from a year earlier.
This article was posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 11:01 am