With Americans poised to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, more bad news about the U.S. housing market piled up this week from government and private sources.
Home prices in markets across the nation continued to fall at a record pace through September, CNNMoney.com reported.
The S&P Case Shiller Home Price national index decline 16.6% in the third quarter versus the same period last year, beating the previous record drop of 15.1% recorded in the second quarter of the year. The index of 10 major cities fell a record 18.6% while the 20-city index declined a record 17.4%
The national index has now fallen 21% from its peak in the third quarter of 2006. The 10-city index, which peaked in June 2006 is down 23.4% from its high. The 20-city index has declined 21.8% since its high in July of that year.
The growing number of foreclosures continues to drive prices down while adding to the inventory of unsold homes, Bloomberg.com reported.
"The onslaught of foreclosures hitting the market is certainly one reason prices are falling and will continue to fall," said Guy LeBas, chief economist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, as reported by Bloomberg. "We need to purge the excesses of the last several years and the only way to do that is to suffer through these home price declines," he added.
Existing home sales dropped in October and prices fell by the most on record, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median price of an existing home sank 11.3% in October from a year earlier, to its lowest level since March 2004, the realtor association said.
New home sales fell 5.3% in October versus the previous month, to their lowest level in 17 years, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. Sales were at a seasonably adjusted rate of 433,000 units. New home sales are down 40.1% year-over-year from October 2007.