While the quant funds are desperately seeking modelers for a "deranged middle east dictator" algo, the US economy continues to prolapse. From the release: "Sales of new single-family houses in January 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 284,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 12.6 percent (±11.2%) below the revised December rate of 325,000 and is 18.6 percent (±15.4%) below the January 2010 estimate of 349,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2011 was $230,600; the average sales price was $260,300. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 188,000. This represents a supply of 7.9 months at the current sales rate." Less than 500 homes (Z) sold in the over $750,000. And the stunner: only 19k non-annualized homes were sold. The lowest monthly total ever. (and as JT Smith points out, of the 19K, 53% were vacant lots or under construction).
And the stunning chart: actual non-seasonally adjusted monthly sales: