Sales of previously occupied homes plunged last month to the lowest level in 15 years, despite the lowest mortgage rates in decades and bargain prices in many areas.
According to the National Association of Realtors, July home sales fell by more than 27 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million. It was the largest monthly drop on records dating back to 1968, with sharp declines recorded in all regions of the country.
According to annalists, the poor economy, a stagnant 9.5 percent unemployment rate and the expiration of tax credits in April are responsible for the decrease.
Or are they? Some individuals, including contractor extraordinaire Mike Holmes, believe the slump is the direct result of poor house construction and under-qualified, fly-by-night contractors.
â€œJust look at this poor craftsmanship,â€ said Holmes on the set of his HGTV home improvement series Holmes on Homes. â€œItâ€™s no wonder these houses arenâ€™t selling. Just look at that crack right there. Somethingâ€™s off. Weâ€™re going to have to pull the tile and floor joists and the roof.â€ According to Holmes, â€œminimum code just isnâ€™t enoughâ€. He then went on to rant about â€œvapor barrierâ€.
Prospective home buyers seem to echo what Holmes is saying, however. Cincinnati resident Martin Silver has put off purchasing a new house in the past year. â€œMikeâ€™s right,â€ said Silver. â€œThese new houses are crap. Iâ€™m holding off in hopes that Mike and his crew can come fix my current home. Please help me, Mike. My toilets donâ€™t work, my kid has leprosy and a â€˜contractorâ€™ just charged me $25,000 to put up a bookshelf that has since fallen over on my cat Mr. Twinky Toes.â€
On hearing of Silverâ€™s plight Holmes added, â€œDo I have to do this all myself? How many more people need to suffer before somethingâ€™s done?â€