Home sales and prices here vs. elsewhere
You can't know if your grass is greener (or browner) if you don't compare, and the National Association of Realtors' price-and-sales data dump yesterday offers that opportunity.
The median home sale price in the Baltimore metro area was down 5.5 percent in the final three months of 2008 vs. a year earlier, according to preliminary figures from the NAR. The U.S. drop, by contrast, was more than twice as large at almost 12.5 percent.
Prices in the D.C. metro area plummeted 26 percent -- which didn't even rank it in the top 10. The biggest drop: just over 50 percent in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.
The NAR tracks sales by state rather than metro area. Home sales in Maryland fell 15 percent, the trade group said. That's about middle of the pack. Six states had drops twice that large, while six others posted sales gains. (The gainers: Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota and Virginia.)
The Realtors association said a lot of the sales in the last three months of 2008 were "distressed." Foreclosures and short sales made up 45 percent of market activity, the NAR said.
Here's what NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun had to say about that in a press release:
“Once again, we see a pattern of strong sales gains, particularly in lower price homes, in areas with price declines resulting from foreclosures,” Yun said. “For example, in California and Florida, where distressed sales accounted for roughly two-third of all sales, the median price fell by much more as lower priced home sales far outpaced higher priced sales.”
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