A Victory of Sorts for the Housing Market

Existing-home sales and prices continue to decline, the numbers aren't as bad as generally expected.

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Just how bad is the housing market? Bad enough that it is considered good news when sales of existing homes hit a nine-year low. The National Association of Realtors announced today that in January existing-home sales fell 0.4 percent to 4.89 million. Median home prices were down nationally to $201,100, a 4.6 percent decline compared with January 2007.

These numbers came as a relief to market watchers because they were better than what most had been predicting. The Midwest seemed to be the only relatively healthy region, with resales actually up there by 3.4 percent.