Everyone knows the economy is bad. But it’s even worse than they thought.

Sales of existing homes sold during November slid by 8.6% as prices went into free fall. Existing home sales are the worst they have been since July 1997.

Home sales dropped from an annualized rate of 4.49 million units, down from 4.98 million in October and significantly less than the 4.93 million projected by a consensus of industry analysts. So even with the all-consuming sense of economic dread enveloping the country, it’s still worse than we all thought.

“The only region where we’re seeing more sales are where bargain hunters are taking advantage of distressed sale prices,” Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, told CNN. “About 45% of transactions, nationally, were of distressed properties. Today’s figure reflects the stock market crash that began in October,” he said.

This drop in sales coincided with ever-decreasing home sales. The median existing home sold for $181, 300 in November, down 13.2% from the median price a year ago: $208,800. Even though homes are cheaper, people still aren’t buying. New home sales have dropped 35.3% from a year ago.

Home Sales and Prices Have Plummeted
Home Sales and Prices Have Plummeted