Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Home Sales Fall

US existing home sales fell 8.0 percent in September as a persistent housing slump continued to weigh on the property market and the world's biggest economy, an industry group said Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said in a monthly snapshot that sales of existing homes and apartments tumbled to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.04 million units in September from 5.48 million in August.

The drop was worse than expected. Most economists had only expected sales to decline to around 5.25 million.

Stripping out apartment sales, sales fell to their lowest level since January 1998.

August's sales pace meanwhile was revised down from an original tally of 5.50 million properties.

The depth of the housing depression was underlined by an annual reading which showed sales of homes and apartments across the United States have plummeted a hefty 19.1 percent from September 2006.

Sales activity has slowed dramatically and dragged down prices in many areas in the past 12 months in a market downturn which has also forced many mortgage lenders out of business.