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U.S. Existing Home Sales Dropped More Than Forecast

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  • U.S. Existing Home Sales Dropped More Than Forecast

    By Courtney Schlisserman

    April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of U.S. previously owned homes fell in March after jumping a month earlier by the most in more than five years, indicating the market will remain depressed for much of the year.

    Purchases decreased 3 percent to an annual rate of 4.57 million, lower than forecast, from 4.71 million in February, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median price slumped 12 percent from a year ago and distressed properties accounted for about 50 percent of all sales.

    Record-low mortgage rates and a foreclosure-driven plunge in prices are making houses more affordable, helping the market stabilize following the biggest slump since the Great Depression. Even so, mounting job losses dim prospects for an immediate recovery.

    “This fits with an idea of stabilization of housing demand,” said Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse Holdings Inc. in New York. “We’ve seen housing affordability go up across the country. The bad news has been diminishing.”

    Shares of the largest homebuilders were down following the report, while stocks overall were little changed. The Standard & Poor’s builder supercomposite fell 1.3 percent to 235.26 at 10:13 a.m. in New York. The S&P 500 index was down 0.3 percent at 841.17.

    More Claims

    Another report showed the number of Americans filing first- time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 27,000 last week to 640,000 as forecast, while total benefit rolls reached a record, indicating the labor market continues to deteriorate.

    Read more....


    Last edited by Marc; 24-04-2009, 10:51 AM.
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