Home Prices Going Down

Fort Myers News Press
The median price of an existing single-family home sold in Lee County tumbled 7.7 percent in September to $231,600, compared to $250,800 a month earlier, according to statistics released today by the Florida Association of Realtors.Meanwhile, the number of sales fell 17.9 percent to 327 from 520 in August.Compared to a year ago, September’s numbers were also bleak: the price was down 11 percent, from $261,400, and sales were down 53 percent compared to 693 in September 2006.
Collier’s figures were not available because the Naples Area Board of Realtors does not provide that information for the monthly report.In Charlotte, the median sales price was $170,000, down 20 percent from $213,200 in September 2006. The number of sales also fell, 16 percent, from 226 to 189.
Meanwhile, in a separate report also released today, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes fell more than forecast in September, signaling no letup in the real estate slump.The median price fell 4.2 percent to $211,700, compared with September 2006. Total sales include condominiums. Purchases of single-family homes fell 8.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.38 million, the fewest since January 1998, today’s report showed.The collapse in subprime lending will limit access to credit and reduce sales even more in coming months, economists said.
The drop in demand suggests home prices will keep falling, raising the risk consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy, will slow.“Housing has weakened more over the past few months, and chances are this is not the bottom,” said James O’Sullivan, senior economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Conn. “This certainly helps make the case” for the Federal Reserve to keep lowering interest rates, he said.
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