NAR says prices are down 6.3% in region, but can their stats be trusted

Home prices down 6.3% in region, says NAR

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Home prices slid 6.3 percent in the New York metropolitan area, including North Jersey, in the first quarter, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

The median price for an existing single-family home was $411,700 in the region, which includes Westchester and New York City, the NAR said. The market remains one of the most expensive in the nation.

“Prices are definitely under a lot of pressure still,” said David Hsu of Abbott and Caserta Realtors in Ho-Ho-Kus. He said he sold a property on Valley Road in River Edge for $440,000 in the first quarter; a similar property on the same block sold last year for $485,000

The NAR and NJAR could easily publish up-to-date sales information for each locality, but chooses rather to use a broad view when it helps their cause…which is to sell homes under any conditions…and all this leads to market confusion, because your local market is a market unto itself

Bergen County sales data…via njmls
  • single family home sales in Bergen County are up 8% (96 homes) in 2012
  • the dollar volume is up 2%
  • the median price has decreased for 4 straight months…which may mean absolutely nothing.  The median price has nothing to do with increasing or decreasing prices …it’s just the middle price for a group of values

“Buyers are savvy and know the market and what a home is worth and don’t want to overpay,” said Allison Witkowski, a Re/Max agent in Saddle River. She said she recently reduced the asking price on a Mahwah town home from $299,000 to $275,000 to attract buyers’ interest.

Nationally, home prices were basically flat, down 0.4 percent to a median $158,100. As prices and interest rates have fallen, homes have become more affordable nationwide; nationally, the median-income household has more than enough income to afford the median-priced house.

But in this region, the median-income household still has only about 64 percent of the income needed to buy the median-priced house, according to the Realtors’ data.

Prices both nationally and in the region have been pushed down by lower demand, the result of high unemployment, tight mortgage standards, and a large number of distressed properties on the market.

2012 sales data for Tenafly…via njmls

A perfect example of confusing and misleading data is Tenafly:

  • in April the median price for homes sold in Tenafly decreased by 39% from the same time period in 2011, but there were only 3 sales in April 2012,compared to 8 sales in April 2011…and this had nothing to do with homes decreasing in value for that time period.  The only thing that happened here were that 3 lower priced homes were sold in Tenafly

Keith Lawrence, a Re/Max agent in Mahwah, said that most sellers “have accepted the market’s current condition” and price their homes in line with recent sales.

“Today’s buyers are educated. They’ve often been looking for years, so they know the market,” said Kate Conover, a Re/Max agent in Saddle River. “When a home comes on the market with a sharp price, they’re all over it. Bidding wars are still happening, and the only way they happen is when the price is right the day it lists.”

The NAR also reported that condo and co-op prices in the area have fallen by 15 percent, to a median $213,500.


Let us know where you think your local market is heading


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