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    Home Sales Dip Again to Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Home sales slip 0.4% in January despite drop in prices - Feb. 25, 2008


    More signs of home sales weakness

    Realtors' group report shows lowest level in existing sales since it began keeping records in 1999.



    Existing home sales fell to record lows in January, according to an industry trade group report.
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    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The new year picked up where 2007 left off, as sales of existing homes fell in January to the lowest level in nearly a decade, according to a reading by an industry trade group released Monday.
    The National Association of Realtors reported that sales by homeowners fell 0.4% in January to an annual pace of 4.89 million, down from the revised December reading of 4.91 million.
    The reading was the lowest since the group began reporting annual sales pace in 1999, down 23.4% from a year earlier. Nevertheless, sales narrowly beat expectations. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected the report to show existing home sales slowed to an annual pace of 4.8 million.
    Despite beating forecasts, analysts remained skeptical.
    "This is more doom and gloom," said Northern Trust chief economist, Paul Kasriel. "The mind set for buyers now is, 'if prices are falling, why do I want to buy an asset that's going down in price?'"
    The median price of a home sold during the month fell 4.6% to $201,100 from $210,900 a year earlier. Before the start of the current housing slump, it had been 11 years since prices fell compared to a year earlier.
    The median price of a single-family home dropped to the lowest point since February 2005, falling 5.1% to $198,700. The trade group has tracked those sales prices going back to 1989.
    The excess supply of homes on the market rose in January. Realtors estimated that there are now 4.2 million homes available for sale, which represents more than a 10-month supply. That is up from the 9.7-month supply in December.
    "Homebuilders are doing their part to reduce inventory by slashing production, but demand is still weak," said Kasriel. "Everyone wants to get what the neighbor's house sold for three years ago, but that's just not going to happen."
    But the Realtors said that measures to correct the housing crisis have started to show an effect in sales.
    "Subprime loans and other risky mortgage products have virtually disappeared form the marketplace," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Over the past five months, this has been reflected in soft but fairly stable home sales."
    Yun believes that prices will begin to increase by the end of the year, but Kasriel believed that time frame was a bit optimistic.
    "We just have a lot of inventory to work off," he said.
    The downturn in housing and home building has hammered the results of the nation's largest builders.
    Earlier this month, D.R. Horton (DHI, Fortune 500), the No. 2 home builder by revenue, reported a much steeper-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter. Luxury home builder Toll Brothers (TOL, Fortune 500), the No. 7 builder, reported a sharp drop in sales when it released preliminary numbers at the beginning of this month, saying it is "not yet seeing much light at the end of the tunnel."
    That followed a report last month from No. 3 Lennar (LEN, Fortune 500) that showed a $1.25 billion fourth-quarter loss, the largest in the company's history. In addition No. 1 Centex (CTX, Fortune 500), No. 4 Pulte Homes (PHM, Fortune 500) and No. 5 KB Home (KBH, Fortune 500), all reported fiscal fourth-quarter losses far worse than forecasts in January, as did No. 6 Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV, Fortune 500) when it reported fiscal fourth quarter results in December.


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    Re: Hpome Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    While home sales are falling in the Des Moines area, the good news is that home values are still rising.



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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    They are???
    I've just watch neighbors take a 40 grand hit to get out.


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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Quote Originally Posted by wartknight View Post
    They are???
    I've just watch neighbors take a 40 grand hit to get out.
    Yep.

    Iowa home sales drop 18% in 2007 | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register

    In Des Moines, the number of homes sold last month fell 20.2 percent to 463, a separate report from the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors showed.

    Despite slower sales, the average sale price in the Des Moines area climbed about 5 percent, or $8,301 to $175,086, from a year ago, the group said.



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    Re: Hpome Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Quote Originally Posted by cycloneworld View Post
    While home sales are falling in the Des Moines area, the good news is that home values are still rising.
    How is that good news? It just means the next house is more expensive. Home values falling by 50% is better news.


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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Quote Originally Posted by wartknight View Post
    They are???
    I've just watch neighbors take a 40 grand hit to get out.
    Man that would hurt. The more I see of these articles, the more I feel luckier that not only were we able to get our townhome sold in the latter part of '07 - but we made money on it as well.

    Just crazy/sickening how much people are losing on houses right now.



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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Despite slower sales, the average sale price in the Des Moines area climbed about 5 percent, or $8,301 to $175,086, from a year ago, the group said.
    That is a misleading stat though. The reason home sales were up is because people are having a harder and harder time getting into starter houses. With the crackdown on high risk loans, zero down loans, etc. the houses that would normally sell for $75,000-$150,000 aren't selling at all because people can't get financing...



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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    You'd have to think people going from renting to owning are one of the biggest winners here. I'd find it very hard pressed not to buy (unless it just wasn't financially feasible) right now if I were renting.

    Low rates, flooded market and good buys in with people desperate to sell.



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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Real estate still beats the stock market for an investment in my book.



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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    This is the key line:

    "Everyone wants to get what the neighbor's house sold for three years ago, but that's just not going to happen."


    That is what is killing home sales, no one can move up because they are demanding too much for their current home, and no one is willing to face the music right now. People are too proud/stubborn/stupid to realize they bought at the peak of a market. I want to move up to a new house, but I will just wait till I can sell my current house.


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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Quote Originally Posted by ISUFan22 View Post
    You'd have to think people going from renting to owning are one of the biggest winners here. I'd find it very hard pressed not to buy (unless it just wasn't financially feasible) right now if I were renting.

    Low rates, flooded market and good buys in with people desperate to sell.
    No kidding. I bought my first house last March. Man I wish I could have waited another year.


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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    We bought a new house about 2 years ago. I probably paid a little more than I would now but I was also able to sell my townhouse in 3 days for what i was asking. It all evens out and I could care less where prices are right now since I'm not selling.


    As far a investing, I'm more inclined to stick with the stock market. There seem to be so many hidden costs in actually buying real estate that people forget to factor in.



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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Quote Originally Posted by jtaconutz View Post
    Real estate still beats the stock market for an investment in my book.
    Read consumer reports analysis of that last month(maybe two months back) and you may re-evaluate that-maybe not.


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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Quote Originally Posted by cybsball20 View Post
    That is a misleading stat though. The reason home sales were up is because people are having a harder and harder time getting into starter houses. With the crackdown on high risk loans, zero down loans, etc. the houses that would normally sell for $75,000-$150,000 aren't selling at all because people can't get financing...
    Exactly. You beat me to it.....



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    Re: Home Sales Dip Again top Lowest Level since Surveys Began

    Just glad I'm not looking to sell anytime soon. If you were in the market for a house though not a bad time to buy probably.


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