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For sale: 4.77 million homes

December 31, 2007 |  9:28 am


Today's report on existing home sales in November shows a slight increase in sales across the nation -- up 0.4% from last month's levels. Inventory dipped from October levels, but at 4.77 million new and existing homes for sale, remains well above year-ago levels, which could continue to pressure prices lower.

“Inventory is still high, and further reduction in prices may be required in some areas to induce buyers back into the market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

More from Yun:
"“Near term, existing-home sales should continue to hover in a narrow range, just as they have since September, and that’s good news because it’ll be a further sign that the housing market is stabilizing."

The NAR, though, continues to lobby for aggressive rate cuts to help revive the housing market. From Reuters via CNBC: "The trade group also urged the Federal Reserve to slash interest rates by as much as three-quarters of a percentage point in January as a way to embolden home buyers."

Inventory of homes for sale on local MLS systems is running well ahead of year-ago levels in Miami (19% ahead of last year's levels), Los Angeles (26.8%), Phoenix (27%) and Las Vegas (27.5%), according to Housing Tracker.  National inventory, as estimated by the Realtors and the federal government, is running 9% ahead of year-ago levels:

               Existing    (months     New     (months     total
               homes    (to sell)      homes (to sell)      inventory
Nov. 07    4.27 m. (10.3 mo)    505,000 (9.3 mo.) 4.77 million
Nov. 06    3.83 m. (7.3 mo.)    545,000 (6.3 mo.) 4.38 million
Nov. 05    2.90 m. (5.0 mo.)    503,000 (4.9 mo.) 3.40 million
Nov. 04    2.48 m. (4.3 mo.)    418,000 (4.5 mo.) 2.90 million

Source: NAR, U.S. Dept of Commerce
Photo Credit: Reuters