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Economy in Brief

Existing Home Sales Down and So Goes Prices
by Tom Moeller November 28, 2007

Another low was reached by existing home sales last month. The level of 4,970 (AR) about met expectations but was the lowest on record which extends back only to 1999. The tally of single family home sales, however, extends further back. For October, sales of existing single family homes were unchanged from the September level, but it was the lowest since early 1998. The figures are reported by the National Association of Realtors at the time sales are closed.

Weakness in sales last month was led by a 4.4% decline in sales out West. The count of single family sales in the West also fell by 2.5% (-33.1% y/y) to the lowest level since late 1995. Sales in the Midwest also were lower by 1.7% though single family sales were unchanged m/m (-15.9% y/y). Total sales in the Northeast were unchanged m/m as single family sales rose 3.1% (-13.2% y/y), the first gain in three months. In the South sales were also unchanged m/m as were sales of singe family units (-19.8% y/y).

The median price of an existing single family home fell for the fourth straight month. The 1.2% decline pulled prices 5.1% lower than last October and the price of an existing single family home fell as well, down 1.4% m/m and 6.3% y/y.

The Economic Outlook and Central Bank Policy is today' speech by Charles I. Plosser, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and it is available here.

  October 2007 Sept 2007 Year Ago 2006 2005 2004
Number M/M%
Total Sales 4,970 -1.2% 5,030 6,270 6,510 7,075 6,727
Northeast 900 0.0 900 1,030 1,088 1,169 1,113
Midwest 1,180 -1.7 1,200 1,420 1,492 1,588 1,550
South 2,030 0.0 2,030 2,520 2,578 2,704 2,540
West 870 -4.4 910 1,300 1,353 1,616 1,575
Single-Family 4,370 0.0 4,370 5,708 5,677 6,182 5,958
Median Price, Total, $ 207,800 -1.2 210,400 218,900 222,000 218,217 193,233
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