The numbers aren’t giving real estate sales and exchange traded funds (ETFs) a break anytime soon, as sales of new homes in October are the lowest in 18 years.

Slow sales are just the beginning. Home prices are the lowest they have been since 2004. A 5.3% decrease in new home sales was the total in October, to an adjusted rate of 433,000 homes, the lowest level since January 2001, reports Martin Crutsinger for Associated Press.

  • iShares FTSE NAREIT Real Estate 50 (FTY), down 46.7% year-to-date

Obama is busy picking his new administration. The latest addition is Paul Volcker as the head of a special economic advisory board. Jeanne Sahadi and Ben Rooney for CNN Money report that the group will include another eight-16 members and will guide the administration on advice for dealing with the economic crisis.

Volcker, 81, was a key adviser to Obama during the presidential campaign and was a former Federal Reserve chairman.

For the inside job of national security adviser, Obama has chosen retired marine Gen. James Jones. Jones will be heading the National Security Council, which deals with foreign policy. Robert Gates is to serve as the Republican “wild card” in his cabinet and is currently the defense secretary to the Bush Administration. The national security roster will be chosen next week, says Anne Gearen for Associated Press.

As Obama’s economic plan takes shape, all indications are that the country needs help.

There have been many affirmations that testify to our battered economy. Four government reports released today show jobless claims at recessionary levels, sharp cutbacks in consumer spending, U.S. factory orders falling and home sales at their lowest in 18 years, reports Martin Crutsinger for Associated Press.

On the bright side the fact is that many people are not claiming unemployment insurance, the number down to 3.96 million, compared to the week before at 4.02 million.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.