Housing markets have taken a turn for the worse, with the widely followed S&P/Case-Shiller index declining more than analysts had forecast in October, lending credence to the housing bears who have predicted a double dip.
The real-estate sector has been one of the sticking points in the Fed and the government’s attempts to revive the U.S. economy. The 20-city composite S&P/Case-Shiller Index, which measures the value of single homes in 20 metropolitan areas, declined 1% from September to October on a seasonally adjusted basis, S&P said Tuesday. That exceeded the 0.8% dip expected by Wall Street analysts. The index, which takes January 2000 as its base with a value of 100, hit 145.32, making October the fifth consecutive month where annual growth rates moderated from their prior month’s pace.
“The double dip is almost here,” said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee. “There is no good news in October’s report.” Explaining that “the trends we have seen over the past few months have not changed,” Blitzer cited expired tax incentives and a “lackluster” national economy as some of the causes. “On a year-over-year basis, sales are down more than 25% and the month’s supply of unsold homes is about 50% above where it was during the same months of last year.”
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