The sales pace of newly built homes is now at the lowest on record.
Sales dropped nearly 17 percent in Februaryafter a big drop in January. Put that on top of the nearly 10 percent February drop in existing home sales reported earlier this week and the incredibly low level of mortgage purchase applications, and you get a clear case for a double dip in housing.
Remember, this number from the Census is based on contracts signed in February, not closings, like the existing home sales number from the Realtors. That means it is a real indicator of how the Spring market is starting.
"Further, the plunge in new home prices [down 8.9% year over year] does not bode well for existing sales prices in February, which will close in March and April and be reported by NAR in April and May," notes analyst Mark Hanson.
I really don't have to tell you that, since the vast majority of you voting on the blog cast the double-dip vote yourselves.The question now is: How long will it last? As I noted yesterday, more than a hundred economist and housing types surveyed by MacroMarkets said there would not be real recovery in housing until 2013.