The New York Times is reporting that pending home sales dropped 16 percent in November, all of which may be the "clearest sign yet that predictions of another downturn in real estate may become a reality." But as Businessweek points out, pending sales were up 19.3 percent from November 2008. Nevertheless, this recent drop is being blamed on the extension of the tax credit, which helped pick up sales earlier this year. Here's a closer look at the numbers, which is based on an index methodology: "The National Association of Realtors said that its pending home sales index plunged to 96 from a revised level of 114.3 in October. Analysts had been expecting a decline but predicted it would be much smaller. In November of 2008, when the financial crisis was at its peak, the index was 83.1." NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun tells the Wall Street Journal that "it will be at least early spring before we see notable gains in sales activity,"
· Slowing Pace of Home Sales Raises Fears of New Retreat [NYT]
· Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Fall 16% as Buyers Wait for Credit [Businessweek]
· Pending Home Sales Tumbled in November [Businessweek]