The number of existing home sales fell 3% in September, compared to 2010.  Foreclosures, weak demand and falling home prices continue to plaque the housing market.  The numbers overall rival 2010, which was the worst in 13 years.

All of these factors combine to create a stagnant market.  Buyers who would qualify for conventional financing are staying out of the market due to uncertainty.  Even the lowest interest rates in history have not spurred a recovery.  Although, they are more than likely helping to make sure the slump does not get worse.
Unfortunately not many analysts are optimistic about the market turning positive until 2012.  

First time buyers made up 32% of all sales, the same as August.  They are important because they allow existing home owners to move up.