Existing-home dip in December but 2007 was fifth highest

US existing-home sales declined in December following several months of stable activity, with total sales in 2007 at the fifth highest on record, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – slipped 2,2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 4,89 million units in December from a pace of 5 million in November, and are 22 percent below the 6,27 million-unit level in December 2006.

For all of 2007 there were 5 652 000 existing-home sales, the fifth highest year on record; however, the total was 12,8 percent below the 6478 000 transactions recorded in 2006.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is experiencing uncharacteristic weakness. “Home sales remain weak despite improved affordability conditions in many parts of the country, but we could get a quick boost to the market if loan limits are raised in combination with the bold cut in the Fed funds rate,” he said. “Home prices are lower, mortgage interest rates continue to decline and incomes are higher, but many potential buyers are delaying a purchase.”
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