Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alameda Median Price Inches Up in The Third Quarter

Existing-Home sales surge in many states in Third Quarter, Metro prices moderating according to the latest survey released today by the National Association of Realtors® most states continued to experience a rise existing-home sales in the third quarter, with prices moderating in many metro areas.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, increased 11.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.30 million units in the third quarter from 4.76 million units in the second quarter, and are now 5.9 percent above the 5.01 million-unit pace in the third quarter of 2008.

Sales increased from the second quarter in 45 states and the District of Columbia; 28 states and D.C. saw double-digit gains. Year-over-year sales were higher in 32 states and D.C.

The third-quarter median metro area single-family home prices ranged from a low $61,400 in the Saginaw-Saginaw Township North area of Michigan to $566,000 in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area of California. The second most expensive area in the third quarter was San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont at $538,100; followed by the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine area of California at $498,800.

Alameda’s median price for the third quarter of this year was $568,000 for all property sales and $650,000 for single family residences. For single family residences this is a $5,000 increase over last year’s third quarter results.

Much of the increase in sales is being credited to the credit. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the tax credit is a significant factor in sales increasing this past quarter. “We can’t underestimate just how powerful a catalyst the first-time home buyer tax credit has been for the housing sector,” he said. “It’s given buyers the confidence they needed to get off the fence and take advantage of extremely affordable housing conditions.”

The industry economist stated that the buying conditions this year are the most favorable on record dating back to 1970, and the tax credit is allowing buyers to set aside any reservations about waiting for a better deal.

During the third quarter, 123 out of 153 metropolitan statistical areas reported lower median existing single-family home prices in comparison with the third quarter of 2008, while 30 areas had price gains. The national median existing single-family price was $177,900, which is 11.2 percent below the third quarter of 2008.

“The decline in the national median price has moderated recently, and a shrinking supply of unsold inventory suggests we are getting closer to price stabilization in many areas, but we need a steady stream of financially qualified buyers to further reduce inventory and get us to a self-sustaining market,” Yun said. “Foreclosures will continue to come on the market, but rising sales from the expanded tax credit should stabilize home prices by next spring and help to stem future foreclosures.”

For us locally, it appears that stabilization is very close and may have already happened as sales have grown each of the last four months and homes are beginning to sell at or above asking price. Given the tax credit, interest rates and low inventory my guess is prices for homes will creep up in the coming months. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Spring when the prime selling season begins and the tax credit is gone.

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