Meanwhile, back on Main Street (Part II)…

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Home sales are down, after an uptick in July. From the National Association of Realtors:

Nationally, existing-home sales–including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops–declined 2.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million units in August from an upwardly revised pace of 5.02 million in July, but are 10.7 percent below the 5.50 million-unit pace in August 2007.

The problem, NAR says, isn’t interest rates (a 30-year fixed-rate cost 6.48% in August, just a smidge higher than the 6.43% it cost in July, and down from the 6.57% of August a year ago), but rather tighter lending standards. NAR president Richard Gaylord:

“The difficulty in obtaining a mortgage increased over past couple months, making it more challenging for creditworthy borrowers to find financing,” he said. “Our hope is that overly tight lending criteria can be loosened with reasonable standards and credit so that sales activity can catch up with demand.”

I understand that even decent credit risks are having a tough time getting a mortgage these days, but still, I have to smile at the irony of the idea that looser lending standards are the solution to our problem. Fool me once, shame on me…