Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spooky: Housing News

The entire market lifted up today on the report of the expected quarter percent rate cut from the Fed, and the unexpectedly high 3.9% economic growth rate announced this morning by the Commerce Department.

However the haunting specter of the housing market is hovering over the party; the figures released this week demonstrate the further grim erosion of this sector. For the eighth consecutive month housing prices have fallen nationwide, with the S&P/Case-Shiller index representing 10 large cities dropping by 5%, the largest drop since 1991.

U.S. home prices fall again

Driven by the foreclosure epidemic the driven the level of U.S. homeownership to recent lows of 68.1%. A record 17.9 million U.S. homes stood empty in the third quarter as lenders took possession of a growing number of properties in foreclosure.

New housing starts fell 48 percent to a 1.19 million annual pace in September from a three-decade peak of 2.29 million in January 2006; clearly demonstrating the harsh implosion of housing bubble. Further underlining the issues, inventories of unsold homes are piling up to record levels.

U.S. Homeownership Falls in Longest Slide Since 1981

America's Big, Fat Housing Inventory

Defaults on Insured Home Mortgages Rise 22 Percent

The housing related turmoil has driven consumer confidence to a two year low. The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 95.6 from 99.5 in September, not an auspicious sign right before the critical holiday shopping season.

Consumer confidence falls to two-year low
Numbers for October ignite concern about upcoming holiday season

So this years vote for the scariest Halloween costume goes to the “Housing Market”.