re: "The economists didn’t figure on prices dropping as much, from what I can see. The point remains: supply and demand still works."
so then what is the "inanity" you talk about?
"Sales of new homes recorded an unexpected increase in September [as a direct result of the fact that, surprisingly,] median home prices dropped to the lowest level in four years" --> it was a surprise that the prices dropped as much as they did and this caused an unexpected increase of the sale of new homes [when compared with the economists' expectations].
As you say yourself:"The economists didn’t figure on prices dropping as much". The fact that this drop in prices resulted in an increase in sales (supply and demand) was not surprising at all...
P.S. The phrasing *is* a bit cumbersome -- I suppose you could read it the other way also, but why do that and insult the writer when there is a perfectly logical explanation to that statement? D.