Thursday, September 24, 2009

Home Sales Cool Nationally; Alameda Bucks Trend

The National Association of Realtors® released Existing-Home Sales numbers for August this morning and it shows that nationally sales have eased following four months of gains.

August gave back some of their strong gain in July but remain above the levels from a year-ago. Existing-home sales -- single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops -- declined 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million units in August from a pace of 5.24 million in July, but remains 3.4 percent above the 4.93 million-unit level in August 2008.

Locally, Alameda bucked the National trend seeing an increase in sales both month-over-month and Year-Over-Year. The month-over-month increase was 25 percent and the year-over-year was an 8 percent increase.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $177,700 in August, down 12.5 percent from August 2008. The median existing single-family home price was $177,500 in August, down 12.1 percent from a year ago. Distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell for 15 to 20 percent less than traditional homes.

The Island followed the National trend for median price with a 13 percent monthly decline and 15 percent year-over-year decline in median home price.

In the West which has been swamped with distressed properties finally saw a pull back with a declined of 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.16 million in August but are 7.4 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $220,500, down 12.2 percent from August 2008.

The spring and summer showed strong sales with a total rise of 15.2 percent from April to June. Total housing inventory at the end of August fell 10.8 percent to 3.62 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.5-month supply2 at the current sales pace, down from a 9.3-month supply in July. Unsold inventory totals are 16.4 percent lower than a year ago.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun credits the credit. The organization believes that the Federal Tax Credit has been the major factor in boosting sales.

“Home sales retrenched from a very strong improvement in July but continue to be much higher than before the stimulus. The first-time buyer tax credit is having the intended impact of bringing buyers into the market, allowing them to take advantage of very favorable affordability conditions,” Yun said. “Some of the give-back in closed sales appears to result from rising numbers of contracts entering the system, with some fallouts and a backlog contributing to a longer closing process, but the decline demonstrates we can’t take a housing rebound for granted.”

The organization has been pushing to extend the tan credit. Who can blame them for wanting to keep sales moving? A large portion of sales are coming from both first timers and distressed properties. An NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 30 percent of homes in August, and that distressed homes accounted for 31 percent of transactions; both were unchanged from July.

Yun believes the recent trend shows broad improvement in most of the country, but with an expected rise in foreclosures over the next 12 months. This is part of the push to extend the credit, so the industry has buyers to absorb the expected increase in inventory. NAR believes that extending and expanding the tax credit also would help to keep other families from becoming upside down in their mortgages or risk foreclosure.

1 comment:

  1. Does anyone trust NAR numbers? They're *extremely* motivated to paint rosy pictures.