Q3 home price data just out from the NAR
* Nationwide, median prices were down 2% from a year earlier. That's a larger decrease than the 1.6% drop in Q2 and the most since Q4 2006 (when the decline was 3.8% YOY). The West fared the worst (-3.8%), followed by the South (-3.6%). The Midwest showed a small gain (+0.5%), while the Northeast was up 3.2%.
* Out of 150 metropolitan areas surveyed, 93 (62%) showed an increase in median prices from a year ago. Prices fell in 54 metros (36%), while prices were unchanged in the remaining 3. That's slightly worse than Q2, when there were gains in 97 of 149 metros (65%) and declines in 50 metros (34%), plus 2 unchanged markets.
* The markets with the biggest gains were Bismarck, North Dakota (+15.1%), Salt Lake City, Utah (+14.1%) and Yakima, WA (+13.6%). Other markets showing notable gains were sprinkled throughout the country, with concentrations in Texas and the Pacific Northwest.
* Many of the worst markets were concentrated in Florida and California (with Nevada and parts of the Midwest also faring poorly). Prices were down 12.4% in Palm Bay-Melbourne, FL, down 10.5% in Sacramento-Roseville, CA, and down 10.4% in Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL.
The latest Realtors' figures confirm that the housing market has taken a turn for the worse. Price declines were both a bit deeper and a bit more widespread in the third quarter. In this kind of market, selling is no longer as much about "location, location, location." It's about "price, price, price." Buyers are looking for bargains and sellers are being forced to reduce prices to get deals done. As long as mortgage market conditions continue to tighten up, and inventory levels remain extremely high, home prices should continue to slump gradually.