By Timothy R. Homan
WASHINGTON - The number of existing homes sold in the U.S. was revised down by an average 14 percent since 2007, the National Association of Realtors reported Dec. 21, magnifying the depth of the slump that contributed to the last recession.
Purchases were revised down to 4.19 million for 2010, down 15 percent from a prior estimate of 4.91 million, the real estate agents’ group said in Washington. There was a comparable downward revision to inventory, and median prices were little changed from prior estimates.
Sales climbed 4 percent in November to a 4.42 million annual pace, from a revised 4.25 million rate the prior month that reflected the benchmark revisions.
“Since 2007, things began to diverge” with other housing data, Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist, said in a news conference Dec. 21 as the figures were released. “Nothing in the local markets changed, it was an aggregation problem.”
Purchases for 2007 were revised down by 11 percent, and by 16 percent in 2008 and 16 percent in 2009.
“Even before the revisions things were bad, now they are even worse,” Yun said.