Existing home sales lowest since 1995
Sales of previously owned U.S. homes took a record plunge in July to their slowest pace in 15 years, underlining the housing market’s struggle to find its footing without government aid.
Tuesday’s report from the National Association of Realtors, which was much worse than market expectations, was the latest data that indicated economic activity continued to slacken into the third quarter.
The NAR said overall sales were at their lowest since it started the existing-home sales data series in 1999, with single-family home sales that account for most business at their lowest since 1995. Association chief economist Lawrence Yun characterized overall sales as the softest since 1995.
The dismal sales report came as Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans warned the risk of a double-dip recession was higher than six months ago. He doubted that output will actually shrink but said recovery will be modest.
“It is becoming abundantly clear that the housing market is undermining the already faltering wider economic recovery. With the increasingly inevitable double-dip in prices yet to come, things could yet get a lot worse,” said Paul Dales, a U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.
How bad was this report? Very bad:
This is a really, really bad report. The awfulness of July’s sales were a little exaggerated due to all of the demand having been pulled forward form the buyer credit. But it’s unclear how many months of demand were captured early by the credit, so it’s hard to know when its effect will wear off.
Bah! It’s all good. Joe Biden, the Veep in charge of overseeing economic stimulus says we’re on the right track.