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:
  • I知 spending more than last year
  • I知 spending less than last year
  • I never shop online
  • I知 not spending anything this year
Mortgage Rates
30 yr fixed 3.80%
15 yr fixed 3.20%
5/1 ARM 3.84%
30 yr refi 3.82%
15 yr refi 3.20%

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

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
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: テつゥ 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices テつゥ S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.