Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Realtor’s New Reality: Existing Home Sales Q1 2009

Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Metropolitan Area Existing Home Sales Report for Q1 of 2009 showing, in truly stark and simply stunning terms, the tremendously broad nature of the housing downturn.

Median single family home selling prices, on a year-over-year basis, are now falling in 129 of the 146 metro markets tracked while on a respective-peak-basis median selling prices have fallen substantially IN FULLY 146 of 146 tracked markets.

Further, there are some particularly striking price declines coming from areas of Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Ohio, California and Michigan where all peak price declines have breached the 50% mark while some are nearing -70%.

As for single family home sales, there has been an equally significant shift of sorts (compare the sales charts in my post from Q1 2008) whereby the first tier housing bubble hot spots (California, Nevada, Florida, etc.) now show increasing sales amidst the significant price declines while areas that have yet to fully relent to the price correction have taken the lead in declining sales.

Additionally, while ALL 49 states (NH doesn’t report consistently so they are excluded) and Washington DC continue to show notable peak sales declines, 6 states are now showing year-over-year sales increases with the most significant increases coming from Arizona, California and Nevada.

Of course, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) leadership chooses to focus attention on the few areas showing annual sales increases while simultaneously assuring “homeowners” that their “good condition” homes have not fallen in “value” as much as their own report suggests.

“Over the past couple months, contract activity for home sales, buyer traffic and inquiries about the $8,000 tax credit have all increased,” says chief economy Lawrence Yun.

NAR president Charles McMillian states “Traditional homes in good condition have held their value much better, so owners shouldn’t be overly concerned about median prices. Most sellers can expect a good return if they’ve been in their home for a normal period of homeownership and haven’t excessively tapped their equity,”