Support Marketplace

Housing sales take a dive

A foreclosed house for sale in Los Angeles.

TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: Isn't it nice to get back to the regular old news about a housing slump? To not have to deal with any of that subprime mess?

Ordinarily, you'd say yes. But the housing news out today was especially bleak. Sales of existing homes fell for the sixth straight month, to the lowest point in five years.

And if you think that's bad, hear this from Patrick Newport -- he's an economist with the forecasting firm Global Insight.

PATRICK NEWPORT: I think we're going to see some really ugly housing numbers over the course of this year. Prices will not turn around until 2009. So we're still a year away from the bottom.

One of those numbers Patrick flagged is the inventory of homes on the market. It's at a record high -- there's a 10-month supply waiting out there.

NEWPORT: Until that inventory comes down, we're not going to see new construction. And it's construction that really affects GDP. So we're going to see few homes going up and more layoffs in the construction sector.

Not to mix metaphors on you, but homebuilders are starting to post car company-like numbers. Lennar said today it lost almost $700 million in the first nine months of this year.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...