U.S. existing home sales data does not look optimistic

Death Valley

The U.S. housing data indicates demand is drying up and no one feels safe enough to buy. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Since the recession that began in 2008, housing and employment  numbers have been watched the closest. A new round of U.S. housing data has just been released by the Commerce Department. Fears that figures such as existing home sales and new home sales had been spurred by the homebuyer tax credit were more or less confirmed. The news caused a drop in stocks on the market. All signs indicate that the economy is nowhere near to recovered.

U.S. housing data indicates slow growth

The U.S. Department of Commerce keeps track of U.S. housing data. The report for the month of July has just been released. According to CNN Money, there was one modest glimmer of hope. New home starts, or beginning construction of new homes, increased by 1.7 percent from June to 546,000 for July. However, new home starts are down 7 percent since July of 2009.  Housing construction permits fell by 3.1 percent from June to July 2010 and have fallen 3.7 percent since July 2009. Construction of new single family housing fell 1.2 percent from June to July.

Slower to sell

Sales data for the real estate industry indicate that the tax credit was all that was holding up previous existing home sales and other home sales figures. According to Bloomberg, existing home sales fell by 27 percent between June and July 2010. Since July 2009, they have fallen 26 percent. Predictions were for a drop, but not nearly that large a drop. The current supply of available houses on the market is the highest since 1983. Of the homes that did sell, 22 percent had been foreclosed. The Obama administration has pledged a few billion dollars more in stimulus funding to try to keep foreclosures down.

The market slides on housing data

The doom and gloom of the U.S. housing data and existing home sales triggered a slide in stock markets. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Dow Jones fell 1.2 percent, the Nasdaq fell 1.5 percent and Standard & Poor’s fell 1.3 percent in the wake of the dismal reading. It appears the stimulus programs have done little other than put taxpayers on the hook for billions in debt while providing a temporary boost to a few.

Further reading

Wall Street Journal

Bloomberg

CNN Money

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