The National Association of Realtors just released data on existing home sales for May 2006. The picture parallels what we’ve been seeing in Sullivan County, and shows surprising strength in a sector that many economists thought might go bust.
Sales of single family homes nationally were down 6.6% (on a seasonally adjusted basis) over May 2006, and fell 5.9% in the northeast. (Between April and May, 2006, sales dropped 1.5% nationally and 4.8% in the northeast.)
In the face of slowing sales, however, prices have shown tremendous resilience. Nationally, the median sales price of a single family home climbed 6.4% from May, 2005, with a 6.9% rise recorded in the northeast. The year-over-year rate of appreciation has been slipping for a few months, and unless there is a sudden price surge in the near term, the year-over-year appreciation rate will likely drop below 5% in the next few months (with prices relatively flat with their winter peaks.)
Overall, both nationally and regionally, the real estate picture is much rosier than many anticipated just 3 or 6 months ago. Sales are down, but very modestly and prices, while certainly not galloping upward like the past few years, are holding their own.