Third Quarter Home Prices a Mixed Bag

November 12 2010 (Chris Moore)
home-value-picture
Depending on if you’re a “the glass is half full” or a “the glass is half empty” type of person is pretty much how you would sum up home prices for the third quarter of 2010. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), compared to the same period last year, the median price for home resales fell in 76 out of 155 areas in which NAR tracks. Prices rose in 77 areas and were unchanged in two.

In the second of 2010 prices rose in nearly two-thirds of the 155. The drop in the number of areas in which prices rose indicates that the market is losing steam without government tax credits.

The national median price for single-family homes, however, was nearly unchanged. It was $177,900 in the July-September quarter, down 0.2% from a year earlier which is quite encouraging considering total sales are down 25 percent from the second quarter and 21 percent lower than a year earlier.

However, Celia Chen, a senior director with Moody’s Analytics stated, “Foreclosure sales are going to increase into next year, which will cause prices to decline further.”

Several lenders have stopped seizing properties over the past six weeks to fix document flaws. Once banks resolve those problems, analysts expect foreclosures to climb again which will exert downward pressure on home prices.

The metro areas showing the biggest declines in home prices from a year earlier were Ocala, Fla. (20%), Melbourne, Fla. (15%), and Tucson, Ariz. (15%).

Areas showing the biggest gains were Burlington, Vt. (18%), Elmira, N.Y. (17%), and Dallas (14%).

NAR estimated nationwide, “distressed property” including foreclosures and homes at risk of foreclosure, accounted for 34% of third-quarter transactions which is up from 30% a year earlier.

“Prices this year have been changing very little from year-ago readings,” said Lawrence Yun, the Realtors’ chief economist. “Areas with some larger swings in home price reflect the degree of distressed sales in those markets.”

Tags: NAR, home prices, distressed property, median home price, home resales, foreclosure