WSJ: "Sales of existing homes fell in January for the fifth straight month, and the inventory of unsold homes rose, providing more evidence of weakening in the housing market.
The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes, which account for about 80% of the residential market, fell 2.8% from December to an annual rate of 6.56 million units. While prices were unchanged from December, the number of unsold homes increased 2.4% to 2.91 million, a 5.3-month supply that is the largest in almost eight years.
Compared with a year ago, the annual pace recorded in January was 5.2% slower, prices were up 11.6% and the supply of unsold homes jumped 43.2%. The recent trends indicate that the balance of power in the housing market, which clearly tipped in favor of sellers over the last few years as home values soared, is gradually shifting to buyers.
Condominium sales plummeted 10.6% from December, and the average sales price fell to $216,900 from $225,200 but was still 5.5% higher than a year ago. Sales of single-family homes slipped 1.5%, but the average price increased to $210,500, a 13.1% gain over the past year."
I’m runnin’ late, so not much more to add (although, is further comment really necessary?)
Existing-Home Sales Fall Again;
Consumer Confidence Wanes
WSJ, March 1, 2006; Page A2