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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Home Sales, Sentiment Data Present Mixed Picture

Home sales plunged further. U.S. consumer sentiment is up.

That's the data Wall Street is trying to digest right now, after a lukewarm response to news that the GDP fell 0.5 percent in the third quarter, in line with economist expectations.

The National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales fell 8.6 percent in November. The median sales price fell 13.2 percent, to $181,300.

New-home sales dropped to their slowest pace in nearly 18 years, falling 2.9 percent in November, according to the Commerce Department.

Meanwhile, the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index jumped to 60.1 in December from 55.3 in November, the lowest level in 28 years. What helped? Lower gas prices. (I paid $1.53 the other day.) And deep retailer sales.

"We're going to see more of the huge reduction in oil and gas prices translating into consumer buying power in some areas,” Robert Stein, senior economist at First Trust Advisors in Lisle, Ill., told Bloomberg.

-- Michael S. Rosenwald

By Michael S. Rosenwald  |  December 23, 2008; 10:15 AM ET
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Is this in comparison to Oct. 08 or Nov. 07?

Posted by: mirebay | December 23, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Median home price is not a good indicator because it compares different quality homes regardless of location. The median house last month may have been a 4-bedroom house in Toledo, OH and the median house this month may be a 2-bedroom condo in Miami.

Posted by: mhollar | December 23, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Our perceptions are being pushed and pulled, changing by the day as our world gets turned up-side-down. What of our ASSUMPTIONS?


Posted by: JamesRaider | December 23, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

OPEC is planning deep production cuts, the price of gas will rise again. And, soon.We have to look at "the big picture." Our days of tunnel vision need to cease. Our nation better wake up and smell the coffee. With all our bail outs along with the 168 billion economic stimulus package, that btw did nothing for our economy it is hard to understand why our government can't see the need to bail us out of our dependence on foreign oil. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. Meanwhile, while we are busy doing the Happy Dance around the lower prices at the pumps, OPEC is planning to cut production to drive prices back up to between 75-100. per barrel. Why don't we invest in America's Energy Independence. It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive. The electricity used to charge the car could conceivably be generated by solar or wind.If all gasoline cars, trucks, and suv’s instead had plug-in electric drivetrains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota.
Why not invest some of these millions in getting some of these projects set up? Create clean cheap energy, badly needed new green collar jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What more of a win-win situation could there be? Now there is talk of another stimulus pkg. Don't get me wrong, if you hand me a check I will take it. I am broke from this past year myself. I just think we are going about this all wrong. I just read a fascinating book by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence NOW. We need to look at the "big picture" This book Is the big picture.
Wilson also has a fascinating article on the Better Place Web Page called How Much Electricity Does It Take To Replace Gasoline. You can read it @

Posted by: BeyondGreen | December 24, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

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