Springfield Republican: Hampshire County Home Sales Fall 21% in Q1

Home sales and prices continue to fall in Pioneer Valley, reports today’s Springfield Republican. In Hampshire County, 151 homes sold in the first quarter of 2008, down 21% from the first quarter of 2007. The median sales price slipped from $259,000 to $249,000.

The median sales price of homes in the Pioneer Valley fell 4.9 percent to $195,000 in the first quarter of this year compared with the same time period of 2007.

The number of homes sold [in] Hampden, Franklin and Hampshire counties also fell 27.6 percent in January, February and March to 705 homes from 974 in the first quarter of 2007, according to the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley…

The number of unsold homes on the local market has also doubled since the housing boom was going full bore in 2005…

“What we have is a tale of two markets,” Thompson [Donald E. Thompson, president of the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley] said.

There are sellers who have priced homes to fit in with today’s economy, and there are sellers who are holding on to the boom times of two years ago. “They are really out of the market,” Thompson said of the latter. “It is critical you price your house correctly.”

See also:

Bloomberg: “New-Home Sales in the U.S. Plunged More Than Forecast in March” (4/24/08)
Purchases of new homes in the U.S. plunged more than forecast in March to the lowest level in almost 17 years as stricter loan rules and falling prices caused buyers to hold off.

Sales dropped 8.5 percent to an annual pace of 526,000, the fewest since October 1991, from a 575,000 rate the prior month, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median sales price slumped 13.3 percent from the same time last year, the most in almost four decades…

…the supply of homes at the current sales rate jumped to 11 months, the most since September 1981.

Sales were down 37 percent from March 2007.

Purchases dropped in all four regions, led by a 19 percent decline in the Northeast…

“Across the country, the overall sales environment continues to be difficult,” Richard Dugas, Pulte’s chief executive officer, said today on a conference call. “Builders are intensely competing for a diminishing pool of buyers.”

Boston Globe: “Realtors data confirms February price drop” (3/25/08)
The number of Massachusetts single-family homes sold in February was 1,857, down 22.9 percent from sales in February 2007, and the median selling price fell 4.6 percent to $310,000 last month, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported today.

In February, 827 condos were sold in the Bay State, down 34.6 percent from the same month a year ago, said the association, which added that the median selling price for a Massachusetts condo in February was $252,000, down 6.7 percent…

Woes in Condo Market Build As New Supply Floods Cities: Wall Street Journal (3/22/08)
The condominium market is about to get worse as many cities brace for a flood of new supply this year — the result of construction started at the height of the housing boom…

The deluge means bad news for developers and potentially lower prices…

The deteriorating economy isn’t helping. “When the world goes to hell in a handbasket, the last thing anyone wants to buy is a condo,” says Cathy Schlegel, a mortgage-loan broker in Fort Worth, Texas…

Gazette: “Contractors assess extent of slowdown, as some projects lag” (2/18/08)
the first time in recent memory, Northampton city planners do not
expect to have a permit application for a residential or commercial
project before them, when they meet later this month.

Krugman, NY Times: Home Prices Have Plenty of Room on the Downside (12/14/07)
restore a historically normal ratio of housing prices to rents or
incomes, average home prices would have to fall about 30 percent from
their current levels…

House prices to drop much lower: Greenspan (9/19/07)