Charlotte home sales plunge continues

The number of Charlotte-area houses, townhouses and condos sold last month through the Carolina Multiple Listing Services dropped 34.5 percent compared with August 2007, the steepest plunge yet in more than a year of declines.

There were 2,469 homes sold in August, according to the MLS, which accounts for nearly all existing home sales within about a 50-mile radius and roughly one-fourth of new home sales. Through August, MLS sales were down 28 percent, compared with the first eight months last year.

The average sales price last month fell 4.5 percent, to $230,472, the MLS said today.

The number of pending sales was down 20.3 percent, a sign weak sales will continue as the nation's historic housing slowdown drags on.

Nationwide, the number of contracts signed in July was down 6.8 percent, compared with a year ago, according to the pending home sales index released today by the National Association of Realtors.

The Charlotte area posted record results in 2006 as the housing downturn began elsewhere. The regional decline began last year, and rate of drop off has outpaced national levels this year.