Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home Prices Plunge

Watching your money slip away is never a good feeling. Neither is watching the value of your property. A decline of almost 13 percent for the region means more underwaters, more HELOC closures, and most likely more foreclosures. From this article from The Record titled Home prices plunge 12.8 percent we can see values are hurting. Let's take a look -

Home prices dropped 12.8 percent in the New York metropolitan area — which includes North Jersey — in the first quarter of 2009 from the same period a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

The median price of an existing single-family home in the area that includes Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties fell to $429,900, down from $492,800 a year earlier, the NAR said.

The volume of home sales in New Jersey plummeted 18.7 percent from the first quarter of 2008. Sales of single-family homes, condos and coops were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 93,400 in the first quarter of 2009 — about half the 180,000-plus annual sales during the housing boom in 2004 and 2005.

Nationally, home prices declined 13.8 percent, to a median of $169,000. That's almost 24 percent below the median price at the national market's peak in 2006. In the New York metro area, prices are down around 20 percent after peaking in 2007 at a median of around $540,000.


And many potential buyers believe that if they wait, prices may fall further. That view is supported by some real estate experts, including Jeffrey Otteau, an East Brunswick appraiser who tracks the housing market statewide. He predicts that prices will drop a total of about 9 percent during 2009. Denis said she thinks prices may dip another 5 percent this year.

The article notes that even though prices are more affordable for new buyers there are many factors keeping them out of the market. First the rising unemployment levels are keeping potential buyers out. Second is the stricter requirements for mortgages. A pulse is no longer the mitigating factor for a mortgage - lenders are making people prove they can repay them (crazy huh). Third is that some will prefer to wait until after the market hits bottom. Of course - why buy when there is a good chance it will be worth significantly less by the time of closing. There really is not much incentives for new buyers to jump into the current market. A tax credit won't be much comfort when watching your property value decline.

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