BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- If you're looking for a deal on home you might consider Brunswick County. Compared with other parts of the state home prices there dropped 29 percent from November to December. The average cost of a Brunswick County home in December was about $260,000. A year earlier the average cost was more than $364,000. Wilmington home prices didn't see nearly the same drop. They were only down one percent in December. Nationally, new figures show sales of existing homes plummeted last year. Horrible is one way to describe the 2007 real estate market. New data from the National Association of Realtors shows that sales of pre-owned homes fell by 13 percent last year. That's the biggest annual drop in home sales in a quarter century. But that's not the worst news. Prices for homes sold last year dropped by 1.8 percent -- the first time that the national average home price has dropped over a full year since the Great Depression. While the Realtors' Association is expecting residential real estate to recover this year, most analysts are saying real relief won't happen until 2009. That does not bode well for the broader economy. Poor performance from the residential real estate sector last year knocked a full one percent of growth out of the broader economy. Workers in construction, real estate sales and mortgage financing were let go due to reduced demand. And millions of American homeowners pulled back spending since they "felt" less rich as the value of their homes declined.
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