Existing home sales were released on November 24 by the National Association of Realtors.  The National Association of Realtors data on existing home sales is the leading measurement of the residential real estate market.  The National Association of Realtors releases statistics on sales and prices of existing single-family homes for the nation and the four regions.  These figures include condos and co-ops, in addition to single-family homes.

In the most recent report, nationwide existing home sales fell more than expected.
The National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales fell 3.1%, seasonally adjusted, to a rate of 4.98 million.

The last 12 months of sales on an annual basis were:

October, 2008  4,980,000
September, 2008  5,020,000
August, 2008  4,910,000
July, 2008  5,020,000
June, 2008  4,850,000
May, 2008  4,990,000
April, 2008  4,890,000
March, 2008  4,940,000
February, 2008  5,030,000
January, 2008  4,890,000
December, 2007  4,910,000
November, 2007  5,020,000

All long time readers are aware that our position on the present credit crisis is that it is primarily a result of over extended homeowners and inflated housing.  It seems like every week we here more calls by economists and politicians that housing needs to be fixed, more houses needs to sell and the mortgage market has to loosen up.  Mortgage rates are certainly not elevated.  30 year fixed rates mortgages we being offered at 6.04% for the week ending November 20 according to the Freddie Mac weekly survey.  Now look at housing sales for 10 years.  Paint this story in your head before reading the statistics, the last 10 years were a period of overextended credit nonsense.  That the housing sales data over the past 10 years was artificial and should not be considered normal level of sales.

2007  5,652,000
2006  6,478,000
2005  7,076,000
2004  6,779,000
2003  6,175,000
2002  5,632,000
2001  5,335,000
2000  5,174,000
1999  5,183,000
1998  4,966,000
1997  4,371,000
1996  4,167,000

1997 existing home sales were lower than they are now.  1996 sales data was significantly lower.  This data was extracted from The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) department.

Just to throw a monkey wrench in theory that we need to ramp up housing and live this credit nightmare all over again; here is the annual sales of existing homes in 1987, which must have been the great depression-

3,526,000.

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