We’re heading into the last week of November, so its time to take a quick look at how the month is shaping up. The November median sales price (using the 3 month rolling measure to ensure sufficient sample size) will likely drop below $170,000, to around $165,000. The last time the median sales price was at that level was Mar./Apr. 2006, but that dip was likely a function of the typical mid-winter price slide in the annual sales cycle. We have to go back to August 2005 to find the median in the mid $160’s during a ‘regular’ selling season. If November clocks in at $165,000, it will be about 10% below November, 2006, and 16% below the peak of $198,000 reached this past June. The average sales price is holding better, likely to come in around $206,000, or par with a year ago. There seems to be a fairly constant trickle of very upper end sales that supports the average sales price. It would be a mistake, though, to call the upper end ‘robust’ — given the small sample size of sales here, a single $1M+ sale can add $7,000 or $8,000 to the average.
For the past 6 or 8 months, I’ve generally been targeting mid-2006 as the level prices would likely stabilize at. But I’m beginning to think that may be too optimistic.
On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors released the Existing Home Sales report for September, and it confirmed that the real estate market nationwide continues to slide. Nationally, sales were down 19.1% from the previous year. The bright spot is that the drop in the northeast (13.5%) was smaller than any other region, and the median price, while down 4.2% year over year nationally, was actually up .5% in the northeast. But that slight year over year uptick doesn’t paint quite an accurate picture. The northeast’s $261,700 median for September was down 11% from the peak of $293,000 in July.