Home prices steady in region during September as state sees decline

New London County home prices held steady in September, despite a more than 10 percent decline in the number of single-family sales.

The Warren Group, publisher of The Commercial Record, released figures Tuesday showing that the median price of a single-family home in the region was $227,500 in September. That's up just slightly from a median of $225,000 in New London County during the same month a year ago, even as the state as a whole saw a more than 7 percent decline in home prices.

Statewide, September's home-price median was $230,000, down from $248,000 for the same month a year ago.

"The decline in median prices is a real disappointment," Timothy M. Warren Jr., chief executive of The Warren Group, said in a podcast made available online. "This is big drop from the gradual improvement we were seeing."

Warren pointed out that the national real-estate scene is showing a similar slowing pattern in sales prices.

"Perhaps we're consolidating gains, or perhaps it's election-year jitters," he added.

Warren said, however, that price declines are a typical pattern in real-estate recoveries. In the early 1990s, for instance, prices declined for two consecutive years even as sales increased.

"Home sales have increased every month in 2012, a strong sign that the housing market is recovering," Warren said in a statement. "This suggests that consumers have regained some confidence in the economy, and are making home purchases with more enthusiasm."

Warren also pointed to a good month statewide in condominium sales, which increased by 7 percent. But median prices plummeted from $173,000 to $157,000, and Warren said the market won't stabilize until rentals are harder to come by.

"In many areas of Connecticut, we haven't seen that happen yet," he said.

It certainly hasn't happened in New London County, where sales were down nearly 38 percent in September compared with a year ago and prices fell almost 7 percent. The median condo sales price during the month was $124,950, more than $9,000 below the valuations seen last year.

Things are more positive, however, when looking at year-to-date condo sales, which are down only 11.3 percent. Condo prices so far this year are off only 3.4 percent in the region.

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