New home sales: The downward spiral continues

Housing busts are an excellent predictor of recessions. So what do the worst numbers in seven years tell us?

Topics: U.S. Economy, Globalization, How the World Works, Great Recession,

Looks like the practitioners of the dismal science need to punch up their gloomy meters.

  • Median estimate by a survey of 26 economists on how much new home sales would fall in August, compared to July: 4.6 percent.
  • Actual drop: 8.3 percent.
  • Drop compared to August 2006: 21.2 percent.

The median price of a new home also fell, year-on-year, by 7.5 percent, from $243,900 to $225,700.

Just for fun: in 2005, the all time record for new home sales was 1.3 million. As of right now, the projection for 2007 is 795,000.

There is no sugarcoating these numbers. The Dow Jones industrial average, which had been inching its way back to record highs after the Federal Reserve rode to the rescue last week, immediately plunged. If housing has been a drag on the economy for the last year, it is now a millstone hanging around the neck.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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