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Local home prices down 5 percent in quarter

By Lee Howard

Publication: theday.com

Published July 07. 2014 4:34PM   Updated July 07. 2014 11:47PM

Home sales in the region are still treading water.


Single-family sales statistics for the second quarter, released Monday by the Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors, show slowing sales and prices compared with last year, while condominium units are moving at a brisker pace even if prices are stagnant.


“It’s a mixed bag,” said John Bolduc, chief executive of the local Realtors association, which covers New London and Windham counties.


The quarter’s median price of $190,000 for single-family homes in the region was down from the $200,000 median seen a year ago. That’s a decrease of 5 percent, but is up significantly from the first-quarter median of $169,450.


Bolduc blamed the quarter’s sales decrease of 1 percent for single-family homes — the first sales slump since the fourth quarter of 2011 — partially on last winter’s weather. The lack of buyers out scouting homes between December and early March likely affected the number of closings in April through June, he said.


“The market is flat,” Bolduc said. “I expect the median to be down for the next couple of quarters.”


Bolduc said the real estate market, which has been mired with a median price at or below $200,000 essentially for the past three years, is still fighting the effects of short sales and the region’s economic fragility. The current median home price in the area is about the same as it had been in the first half of 2003, he pointed out.


“It all goes back to jobs,” he said. “Jobs go home to houses.”


Bolduc pointed out that the volume of single-family home sales — number of transactions times the average sale — was up nearly 2 percent in the quarter, a sign that some higher-priced homes are selling even if the median appears to be on the low side. He added that if single-family and condo sales are taken together, overall units sold in the region were higher last quarter than they had been a year ago.


Condo sales were up nearly 14 percent over last year’s second quarter. The median price of $131,450, however, was only marginally better than seen a year ago.


Bolduc said he was hopeful that third-quarter sales would be stronger, given that it is taking 56 days on average to transform a sales offer into a closing.


“May and June have been very busy,” Bolduc said. “I think that bodes well for third-quarter numbers.”



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