Whoever thought that the monthly existing home sales data compiled by NAR (the National Association of Realtors) would be headline news? It might not have been the lead item on tonight’s national network news shows, but it wasn’t close behind, and well before the DOW and NASDAQ numbers.
The decline in sales prices wasn’t unexpected, but nationally, the 1.7% drop in the year over year median sales price was the first reported in over a decade. Over the past month or two, individual regions have reported year over year slides, but this is the first in the national data. Regionally, the northeast reported a larger 3.9% decline in the median sales price over August, 2005. Total sales of single family homes dropped 12.6% year over year, with an 11.6% drop in the northeast.
Gosh, given the buildup by Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson, you’d think the sky had fallen and we all need to scurry off to our real estate investment fallout shelters. Frankly, given the (welcome) pullout of speculators from the market, I think the overall performance of the real estate markets is surprisingly good. And here in Sullivan County, if you’ve read some of my previous posts, we’re not seeing the price declines that some of the areas around the northeast are experiencing.
So, when do you think I can pick up the one bedroom in Manhattan below 96th Street that I want for $250,000?