Home Values, Sector Confidence Plunge
Two housing reports out today offer predictably gloomy news: Confidence in the housing market is historically low. And it's not likely to come back anytime soon.
The National Association of Realtors said that median home prices fell across 79 percent of the 152 U.S. cities surveyed in the third quarter.
The U.S. median home price now stands at $200,500, down 9 percent from a year ago. Some 40 percent of third-quarter sales involved foreclosures and other distressed properties.
The only four states that showed an increase in median housing prices were Nevada, California, Arizona and Virginia.
At the same time, however, two cities in California -- Sacramento and Riverside -- led the nation in home-value declines, dropping 37 and 39 percent, respectively.
Also reported today: Home builder confidence dropped to a historic low, as charted by the National Association of Home Builders's index.
Any number above 50 on the index represents builder confidence in the housing market; anything below 50, the opposite.
Last month, the index number dropped to a historic low of 14.
This month, it dropped still further to 9.
The index is based on home-builder perception of current sales, prospective sales and buyer traffic, all of which fell dramatically.
The builders have joined the line of sectors asking for government help. They want another tax incentive to lure in potential home buyers and a government buy-down of mortgages.
-- Frank Ahrens
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