Home sales down 16 percent in Nov.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of people preparing to buy a home fell sharply in November, an unsettling new sign that the housing market may be headed for a “double-dip” downturn over the winter.
The figures Tuesday came after a similarly discouraging report on new home sales, illustrating how heavily the housing market depends right now on government help.
In October, buyers raced to get contracts signed in time to take advantage of a tax credit for first-time homeowners that was set to expire. It has since been extended into spring – and now prospective buyers are taking their time.
The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of sales contracts fell 16 percent from October to November, ending nine months of gains. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected only a 2 percent drop.