Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors released the national and regional Existing Home Sales data for September. (Click here for the data) and the results were worse than most analysts were predicting. On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales dropped 8% from August to September, and were down 19.1% on the a year over year basis. For the first time since sales started dropping earlier this year, the Northeast led the month-to-month drop, with 10% fewer sales in September than August (on a seasonally adjusted basis), edging out the West with its 9.9% drop. However, on a year-over-year basis, the Northeast is still doing better than the other 3 regions, with a 13.5% sales decline versus 16.2% in the Midwest, 18.7% in the South and a whopping 27.8% in the west.
On the price front, the median sales price was off 4.2% from a year earlier, with the Northeast actually eeking out a 0.5% increase. But the $261,700 median sales price in September reported in the northeast is off 10.7% from the peak reported in June, 2007. NAR’s price reporting has more seasonal variation because its not seasonally adjusted.
NAR largely attributed the large Sept. sales drop to the mortgage crisis in August, and the difficulty of buyers to get mortgage financing. There is certainly truth to that. Since August, the mortgage markets have stabilized and credit is more readily available. But with or without a ‘mortgage crisis adjustment’, the numbers are pointing to a trend I’ve definitely been seeing here in Sullivan County, that a lot of buyers are waiting it out. The fall has been very slow relative to the past couple of years.
One very interesting difference, though, between Sullivan County and data being reported by NAR is inventory. Nationally, inventory is up 28% from 2006 levels, but here in Sullivan County the inventory is about the same, around 1100 houses on the market.