Sales of existing homes took an unexpected plunge from December to January, falling to the lowest level in nearly 12 years as pessimism about the economy grew and buyers waited to see how the new government would help revive the U.S. housing market. The National Association of Realtors said this morning that sales of existing homes fell 5.3% to an annual rate of 4.49 million last month, from 4.74 million in December. It was the weakest showing since July 1997.
The Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors doesn’t separate out existing and new home sales in the figures it releases to the public. All overall home sales in metro Baton Rouge were down 18.6% from December to January, from 477 to 388, according to figures from the Multiple Listing Service.