Home sales, prices in deep plunge

Realtors: Sales of existing homes fall 8.6% - much worse than expected - as median prices suffer the worst decline since the Great Depression.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Describe your online shopping habits this holiday season:
  • Iím spending more than last year
  • Iím spending less than last year
  • I never shop online
  • Iím not spending anything this year
Mortgage Rates
30 yr fixed 4.07%
15 yr fixed 3.18%
5/1 ARM 3.36%
30 yr refi 4.05%
15 yr refi 3.17%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of existing homes sold during November plummeted 8.6% as prices plunged by record amounts, according to a closely watched housing industry report issued Tuesday.

The National Association of Realtors said that home sales dropped to an annualized rate of 4.49 million units. That was down from 4.98 in October and much less than the 4.93 million units projected by a consensus of industry analysts as reported by Briefing.com.

"The only region where we're seeing more sales are where bargain hunters are taking advantage of distressed sale prices," said Lawrence Yun, the Realtors' chief economist. "About 45% of transactions, nationally, were of distressed properties."

Yun blamed the financial market turmoil for the devastating report. For months, sales had hovered 4.9 million to 5.1 million.

"Today's figure reflects the stock market crash that began in October," he said.

The drop took place despite bargain prices as property values continued their decline. The median existing home sold for $181,300 in November, down 13.2% from a year ago when the median was $208,800.

Yun said that price drop was the largest the association had ever recorded and probably the worst decline since the Great Depression.

Meanwhile, the glut of unsold homes expanded to 4.2 million in November. That represents 11.2 months of supply, at the current rate of sales, up from 10.2 months in October. Bloated inventories have barely budged over the past 12 months; last November there were 4.27 million existing homes on the market.

"At the risk of sounding like a broken record, November was another tough month for the housing market," said Mike Larson, a real estate analyst with Weiss Research. "It's not surprising considering what happened to credit markets this fall."

Existing home sales are now the weakest they have been since July 1997, and price drops have wiped out all the previous gains back to February 2004, Larson said.

Sales of new homes fared little better. They totaled 407,000 in November, according to estimates released jointly Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That was down 2.9% from 419,000 sold in October and 3.1% below Briefing.com's projection of 420,000.

New home sales have dropped 35.3% from last November, when an estimated 629,000 were sold.

The median sale price of new homes sold in November was $220,400, a slight increase of 0.9% from $218,400 in October.

Have you bought a house recently? If so, send your story and photos to realstories@cnnmoney.com. You could be featured in an upcoming article. To top of page

Find mortgage rates in your area


Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
8 must-have travel apps Whether you've got wanderlust or an airline grievance, here are some apps to pack onto your phone. More
Hot stocks: 10 record breaking companies The S&P 500 is trading at all-time highs, and many well-known businesses are leading the charge. Time to buy or sell? More
My biggest retirement mistake Five CNNMoney readers share stories about saving that you can learn from. What they would do differently if they had another chance. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.