Existing-Home Prices Take Record Dive

11.3% decline is biggest on record; sales down again in Oct. after Sept. uptick
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2008 10:59 AM CST
Sign stands outside an unsold new home in a subdivision northwest of downtown Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008.    (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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(Newser) – After a brief, unexpected rise in September, sales of existing homes plunged again in October, with the median price taking its biggest drop on record, the Wall Street Journal reports. Home resales fell 3.1% to a 4.98 million annual rate, from September’s revised 5.14 million pace. “Many potential home buyers appear to have withdrawn from the market,” said one economist, blaming economic conditions and the stock market's volatility.

The median home price fell to $183,300, down 11.3% from last year’s $206,700, the biggest slide since record-keeping began in 1968. Prices are now at their lowest since March 2004. The falling prices are scaring away buyers, which in turn is bloating inventories and pushing prices lower. Analysts say prices have further to fall before inventories shrink.