Interesting little sidebar to the news that housing sales are up slightly; many deals are being canceled at the last minute due to customers getting cold feet about the market.
The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose slightly last month but remained at depressed levels. And more deals are being canceled at the last minute, a sign that even those who are looking to buy are worried about the housing market.
Home sales rose 1.4% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That's below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market and slightly ahead of last year's sales - the worst in 13 years.
The sales are measured when buyers close on the homes.
Many deals are falling apart before that point. One third of Realtors say they've had at least one contract scuttled in October, up from 18% in September.
More than two years after the recession officially ended, many people can't qualify for loans or meet higher down-payment requirements. Even those with excellent credit and stable jobs are holding off because they fear that home prices will keep falling. Home sales are also being hurt by a steep decline in first-time buyers.
The glut in the market is very worrisome. There are almost two homes available for every qualified buyer. As long as it is even close to that ratio, the housing market will continue to suffer.