Chestnuts may roast on an open fire during the holiday season, but a little of the heat has gone out of U.S. home sales. Sales of existing homes cooled during October, the most recent month for which comprehensive data are available, says the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors (NAR). Total sales of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.09 million units last month, down 2.7% from September's 7.29 million rate. Single-family home sales fell 2.5%; sales of condo and co-ops fell 4.4%.
"Housing activity has peaked and is coming down a bit, and we expect further cooling in the coming months," says David Lereah, NAR's chief economist.
Prices are not cooling, however, when compared with last year. The U.S. median price for an existing home in October 2005 was $218,00, some 16.6% higher than the $187,000 median price in October 2004.