Home sales were up 6.5% nationally in December. But the bulk of activity was out West and the big boost there came from bargain basement prices on a glut of foreclosed homes.
The snapshot on the local housing market? We’re still better off, overall, than much of the country.
Here are the latest numbers on existing, or pre-owned homes, for December of 2008.
- National -- The median sales price for existing homes was $174,000 last month. That’s down 15.3% compared to December of 2007. [The median price is simply the price at which half of the homes sold are more expensive and the other half are less expensive.]
- Local -- In the Greater Philadelphia region, the median sales price was at $202,000 for December, 2008. That’s down 6.8% from the year before, according to Prudential Fox & Roach’s HomExpert Market Report.
- National -- Sales were UP 6.5 percent, nationally. Most of the activity was out West where deep discounts on foreclosed homes helped power sales. Metro areas in California, Nevada and Arizona lead the way, according to the National Association of Realtors.
- Local -- The 12-county region saw a 21.4 percent drop in home sales from 3,621 in December 2008 compared to 4,606 in December 2007.
- National -- Housing inventory fell 11.7 compared to a year ago.
- Local -- Housing inventory fell 4.1% in December 2008 compared to December 2007.
Business is percolating again in our area, according to Realtor and Attorney, George Raleigh, with Long and Foster in Devon, Pa., because buyers who've been on the fence are jumping back into the market.
“Buyers have passed on purchasing a new home for over two years now, but their needs have not changed and the necessity still exists to get into either a smaller or larger home,” said Raleigh. “The national economic crisis, and the national news, has left buyers with little confidence and a fear that that real estate values will continue to tumble. Hence, hesitation and a lack of deals. The lowering of interest rates, however, has finally spurred buyers back into the local market.”
If you’ve got a steady income and a solid credit score, you’re in prime position as a buyer. “Last week one of my clients received a 30-year fixed rate loan at 4.75%, without any points,” said Raleigh.
Prudential Fox & Roach did a recent survey of the local market through it’s website and found that 66-percent of the people who responded said it’s a good time to buy a home in our area. Fewer than 2-percent thought it was a good time to sell.
“We’re in a holding pattern right now, waiting for next spring to gauge whether the real estate market will rebound in 2009 or take more time to heal,” said Steve Storti, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Prudential Fox & Roach, REALTORS. “Clearly, Greater Philadelphia is in much better shape than so many other markets reported in the national media.”
Breakdown for 12-County Greater Philadelphia area
Breakdown for 5-County SE Pennsylvania area