Home Sales Drop Nearly 10% in February

Mar 21, 2011, 13:16 by David Hope

Home sales dropped nearly 10% in February after three months of consecutive increases. The National Association of Realtors reported the 9.8% drop in sales midday Monday - which leaves many wondering about the status of the housing market.

Total sales of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in February, down from 5.36 million units a month ago, NAR said in a release.

Sales were 2.8 percent below the 5.02 million level in February.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the housing market is being hampered by "the twin problems of unnecessarily tight credit and a measurable level of contract cancellations from some appraisals not supporting prices negotiated between buyers and sellers,"

"This tug and pull is causing a gradual but uneven recovery," he said.

For February, the national median price for all housing types was $156,100, down 5.2 percent from February 2010.

Total inventory of existing homes rose 3.5 percent at the end of February to 3.49 million existing homes for sale, an 8.6-month supply at the current sales pace.

NAR said sales of existing homes fell 7.2 percent in the Northeast January to February. Sales in the Midwest dropped 12.2 percent month-to-month. In the South, sales slid 10.2 percent. Sales in the West fell 8 percent.

Source: UPI