No Spring Thaw for Housing

Spring is usually the hot time for home sales. But this year, March results were terrible—and April and May don't look much better By Maya Roney Maybe you guessed it, but now it's official: The housing market has not hit bottom. Poor home sales in cold-and-quiet February may be excusable, but in March, April, and May, they are a sure sign of distress. The latest numbers indicate that the spring of 2007 will go down as one of the worst real estate seasons in years. ...a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in March, dropped 10.5% from March, 2006, and 4.9% from February, 2007, to 104.3, the lowest reading since March, 2003. ...existing home sales fell 8.4% year over year, marking the sharpest plunge in 18 years. ...Pat McPherron, housing economist for Moody's says "If April doesn't go well, then that's it. This is the market." ...the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Index measuring builder confidence fell to 33 from 36 in March (a reading below 50 means most respondents view conditions as poor). prices accelerated faster than incomes during the housing boom. "What [subprime lenders] have done is stopped the bleeding." says McPherron

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