Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crashachusetts Existing Home Sales and Prices: September 2009

This week, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for September showing that single family homes sales jumped 4.6% on a year-over-year basis while condo sales surged 12.2% over the same period.

Single family median home value declined 1.7% on a year-over-year basis to $290,000 while condo median prices increased 1.7% to $259,450.

Though these results will likely be touted by MAR and the Boston Globe (… both with significant interest in promoting “good news” for housing) as an indication that the housing market has rebounded, it’s important to note that without the propping of the governments “homebuyer” tax gimmick these results would be significantly weaker.

Sales reached their peak in July (as is typical) and have been down consecutively ever since, suggesting that the tax handout pulled purchases forward into the summer leaving the fall and winter with potentially less demand… October’s results will be interesting indeed.

In any event, I have updated the sales chart to capture a rough picture of what the sales trend might have looked like without all the housing welfare.

In the chart below (the top chart), the blue line indicates the actual results while the green removes 5% of sales from since May, the purple removes 10%, the light blue removes 15% and finally the orange remove 20%.

Notice that IF the feds housing bribes added 5% more sales, removing them would result in a year that would have peaked out at about the same level as last year, subtracting 10% to 15% would have seen the consistent downward trend firmly continuing while removing 20% (a bit aggressive even for my standards) would have seen a significant new leg down.

Now that it appears almost certain that the feds will step up their support of unaffordable housing by broadening the hosing tax gimmick to cover move-up buyers with higher income requirements, it will be interesting to see the effects on our housing market.

This sham government stimulation is poorly targeted and absurdly expensive but is it possible that it may soon become ineffective?.. only time will tell.

Of course, you know where the Massachusetts Association of Realtor president Gary Rogers stands on government handouts and trickery:

“We really feel that the past three months of positive home sales are a result of the $8,000 tax credit and its impending expiration date,… Despite this bump, we are concerned that it will take longer and be more difficult for the market to stabilize without extending the Federal tax credit for homebuyers past the December 1 deadline.”

As in months past, be on the lookout for the inflation adjusted charts produced by for an even more accurate "real" view of the current home price movement.

Key Statistics from the Report:

Single Family results compared to September 2008

  • Sales: increased 4.6%
  • Median Selling Price: declined 1.7%
  • Inventory: declined 12%
  • Current Months Supply: 7.1
  • Current Days on Market: 124
Condo results compared to September 2008

  • Sales: increased 12.2%
  • Median Selling Price: increased 1.7%
  • Inventory: declined 16%
  • Current Months supply: 6.7
  • Current Days on Market: 136