Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Q4 home price data: U.S. down 2.7%

The National Association of Realtors just released their data (PDF link) on Q4 home prices by metropolitan area. They showed a 2.7% decline for the United States as a whole (single-family homes). That was worse than the 1% decline in Q3 2006 and a major swing from Q4 2005, when prices were UP 13.6%. The Midwest led the declines with a -4.2% change. The only 1 of 4 regions to show gains was the West, at +0.4%.

The picture was somewhat different for condos and co-ops. Across the U.S., prices for those properties were down 2.1%. The South and West showed big drops of -6.4% and -9.1%. But there were small gains reported for the Northeast (+1.2%) and Midwest (+2.7%).

Which metros showed the biggest gains, single-family wise? A few in New Jersey, like Atlantic City, and scattered locales in Utah, Oregon, North Carolina, and Louisiana.

The biggest declines? Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL, at -18% ... Palm Bay-Melbourne, FL at -17%, and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL at -11.7%. Other drops were recorded in metros spread throughout Nevada, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, and California. Condo prices fared much worse than single-family prices in some markets, with changes of -24% in Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice and 22% in the Palm Bay market.

The price drops are concentrated in two kinds of areas:

1) Those which experienced the most speculation during the boom and/or which have the most unaffordable homes relative to incomes. That includes large swaths of CA, FL, etc.


2) Those with the worst economic fundamentals. Midwest "Rust Belt" cities fall into that category, as do metros exposed to weakness in manufacturing, especially autos. Some examples include cities in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

Lastly, per this AP story ...

"Median home prices fell in 49 percent of the 149 metropolitan areas surveyed in the fourth quarter, compared to the same period a year ago. That was the largest percent of metro areas reporting price declines since the Realtors began tracking price data in 1979."


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