Monday, January 28, 2008

New Home Sales: Biggest Drop Ever

Weak December sales caps 2007's record slide, with prices for the month off sharply from a year earlier.
New home sales posted the biggest drop on record in 2007, according to the government's latest look at the battered housing market, as a year that saw a meltdown in the mortgage market and a drop in home values ended with yet more signs of weakness.

December sales came in at an annual rate of 604,000, the Census Bureau report showed, down from 634,000 in November, which was also revised lower.

The reading was well below the consensus forecast of 645,000, according to economists surveyed by

The weak December sales left full-year new home sales at 774,000, down 26 percent from the 1.05 million sales in 2006. That was the biggest drop since the government started tracking new home sales in 1963, surpassing the 23 percent decline posted in 1980.

No bottom yet Adam York, an economist with Wachovia, said the report confirms fears that the housing market won't bounce back anytime soon.

"We're expecting sales to decline into at least mid-2008," he said. "We think housing still has a long way to go."
Its really amazing how much damage has been done to the housing market as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis. By giving loans to those that could least afford it, the price of homes remained artificially high and the resulting bubble has burst causing financially pain not only in the United States but around the world.

Will we learn anything from this situation and enact meaningful reforms to stop the next crisis from happening? History says no so let the buyer beware.

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