Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sigh and an Ugh: National Housing Numbers

Well . . .(BIG sigh). . .the National Housing picture continues to paint a very bleak outlook. The two best quarterly housing reports came out yesterday, The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller housing index and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) report on median home price, and (another BIG sigh and an Ugh) the numbers are just down right scary.

I always wait for the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index each quarter but report revealed that home prices continue the free fall. Home owners saw prices decline by a record 18.2 percent from November 2007. This is the largest decline in home value since the inception of the Case-Shillar report began in 2000. The 10-city index dropped 19.1 percent, tied with October for the biggest drop in its 21-year history.

Of course Alameda has seen it share of decline in the market, but not the type of numbers in the cities that had the biggest housing bubbles. Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco all reported annual price declines of more than 30 percent in November, according to Case-Shiller. If the Island does see this type of decline you will see homeowners in shock and walking the streets asking what happened. An example of the impact of this decline: $600,000 home in 2007 (multiplied by 18% decline) is now $492,000. 

If you use the National Association of Realtors median home numbers it is not much better. NAR reported the national median home price fell a record 15 percent last month to $175,400, down from $207,000 a year ago. In Alameda we saw a 7.6% decline in median home price.

The light at the end of the tunnel, the good news, the thing to hang you hat on is interest rates are low and with a  significant down payment, anyone who buys now will save money in the long term. The trouble in Alameda is most homes fall into the Jumbo Loan category and trying to find financing will be difficult.

Alameda's median price in 2007: $649,500

Alameda's median price 2008: $600,000

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