Home Sales Fell 9.6% in February

Media sales price hits lowest level in almost 9 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 21, 2011 10:54 AM CDT
Housing Market: US Home Sales Fall 9.6%; Prices Fall to Lowest Level in 9 Years
In this March 16, 2011 photo, a sold sign hangs on a house in Albany, N.Y.   (Mike Groll)

Fewer Americans bought previously occupied homes last month, and those who did purchased them at steep discounts. The weak sales and rise in foreclosures pushed home prices down to their lowest level in nearly 9 years. Sales of previously occupied homes fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million, said a Realtors' group; that's down 9.6% from 5.4 million in January.

The pace is far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market. Nearly 40% of the sales last month were either foreclosures or short sales, when the seller accepts less than he owes on the mortgage. A third of all sales were purchased in cash—twice the rate from a year ago. The median sales price fell 5.2% to $156,100, the lowest level since April 2002. (More home sales stories.)

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