Home Prices, Sales Fell in January

Chicago–Existing home sales fell for the sixth consecutive month in January and home prices dropped 4.6 percent from January 2007, the Chicago-headquartered National Association of Realtors said Monday.Home resales declined 0.4 percent to a 4.89 million annual rate in January from December’s revised 4.91 million annual rate, The Wall Street Journal reported. The December revision was slightly higher than NAR’s original 4.89 estimation.Median home price in January 2007 was $210,900; last month, prices were $201,100. December’s median home price was $207,000. “Inventories are high, so it’s not surprising prices are declining,” said NAR economist Lawrence Yun.Stricter lending standards that made loans more difficult and expensive to obtain and buyers waiting for lower prices are affecting home prices and purchases, according to the Journal. The national home inventory grew 5.5 percent in January to 4.19 million–a 10.3 month supply. At the end of December, the U.S. had a 9.7-month supply, according to revised NAR figures.