Existing-home sales fell 8 tenths of a percent in December from November to an annual rate of 6.22 mln.
Sales for all of 2006 dropped by 8.4% to 6.48 million for the largest drop in 24 years.
What's really amazing is the truly horrible spinmeister they have at the National Association of Realtors - David Lereah, the chief economist of the NAR. With today release he says, "Despite all the doom and gloom stories and dire predictions over the last year, 2006 was the third strongest year on record for existing home sales." That guy is a bum. 3rd strongest year? Tell that to the millions who tried selling a home last year - it was generally an ordeal. Third strongest year? Tell that to the millions who ensnared themselves in ARMs that will soon reset and send them into foreclosure. Third strongest year? Use that to comfort the CEO of Beazer Homes (BZH) which reported a loss this morning. Beazer's CEO reports no indication of a meaningful housing recovery.