The housing market absorbed more bad news today. Existing-home sales dropped 8% in September, hitting their lowest level since at least 1999, as tighter credit standards kept buyers away. The 5.04 million annual rate was far below projections, bolstering predictions of another rate cut by the Fed next week. “The credit freeze in August definitely impacted sales in September,” one economist told the Wall Street Journal.
Sales were down in all regions, though things were worst in the Northeast and West, down 10% and 9.9% respectively. But thanks to jumbo loan improvements, one economist says, 2007 could wind up being existing homes’ fifth-best year for sales. Prices are expected to come down 1.5% from last year’s record high median of $221,900; September’s $211,700 median was off 4.2% from last year.