Home prices.......

Friday, February 16, 2007 at 04:34 PM

Some news stories require no comment beyond the headlines and a brief summary of the stories below them.

1. Existing home resale market still floundering
Florida's housing market continued to mirror the national trend in fourth quarter 2006, reflecting slower sales, stabilizing median prices and higher inventory levels of homes available for sale in many markets.

Statewide, sales of single-family existing homes totaled 37,177 during the three-month period, a decrease of 28 percent compared to 51,310 homes sold during the same time a year earlier, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

2. Housing Sales Drop in 40 States

The slump in housing deepened in the final three months of last year with sales falling in 40 states and median home prices dropping in nearly half the metropolitan areas surveyed.

Formerly red-hot areas were among the hardest hit as the five-year housing boom cooled considerably in 2006.

While some economists said they believed the worst may be over for housing, others predicted more price declines to come until near-record levels of unsold homes are reduced.

The National Association of Realtors said the states with the biggest declines in sales from October through December compared with the same period in 2005 were: Nevada, down 36.1 percent; Florida, down 30.8 percent; Arizona, down 26.9 percent; and California, down 21.3 percent.

In all, the Realtors said sales declined in 40 states, six states showed gains and one state, Utah, had no change in activity in the final three months of last year. There was not enough information from Idaho, New Hampshire and Vermont to make a comparison.

Not a word, of course, about exactly why home prices might be falling.  This crap doesn't happen in a vacuum.  Why do you suppose that people might suddenly have decided not to buy new and/or existing homes at the same prices those homes were selling for last year at this time?

Maybe because the economy is so robust?

Even more interesting, why do you suppose that the states where prices fell the most are places that, according to the globalization cheerleaders, are doing real well, supposedly offsetting the economic stagnation of the "rust belt?"  After all, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and California are hardly rust belt states, hardly places where long-entrenched unions have provided a large number of good paying jobs, hardly places renowned for overregulation of business.

I know, maybe it's the sun.  They're all sunny.  People probably don't want to buy homes when they can sit out in the sun all day for nothing.  And they're warm enough that sleeping outside may be possible, too.  In fact, they seem like terrific places to be homeless.