Staff and Wire Reports
Apr. 25, 2007 12:00 AM NEW YORK
The nation’s real estate woes deepened in the first quarter of 2007, pushing consumer confidence to its lowest level since August.Newly released data show that U.S. home prices fell their steepest in almost 15 years in February. And the industry got another shot of bad news when sales of existing houses plunged in March by the largest amount in nearly two decades. Analysts worry consumer spending will soon begin to slow as a result. “Consumers are not feeling good about the economy,” said Gary Thayer, chief economist at AG Edwards & Sons Inc.
The news was better here in the Valley, where the housing market actually began to show signs of life in March.The Phoenix-area median house price of $265,470 continues to run above the U.S. figure, and March existing homes sales in the area increased over the January and February totals.Any improvement in the market is welcome, because there are more than 50,000 houses posted for sale on the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, which covers mainly the Valley.