Home Sales Down in Philly Area

Center City is bucking the trend.

Pending home sales in our area are down nearly 5% for September.  That’s the not-so-good news.  But to put it in perspective, it’s better than the rest of the Northeast region (which saw nearly a 17% decrease) and on pace with the national real estate numbers.

In Center City, things are popping. 

"Center City, Philadelphia is clearly outperforming the rest of the region," says Steve Storti, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Prudential Fox & Roach. "This is a reflection of the increased interest in moving back to the city combined with a large group of first time buyers who don’t have to sell before buying. Additionally the developers of new buildings are very motivated to maintain a good sales pace. All of those factors have helped the city."

There is also good news for two local counties:  Gloucester in New Jersey and New Castle in Delaware, which saw increases.

Here are the details from the Prudential Fox & Roach, REALTORS® HomExpert Pending Home Sales Index©


County                   Sept. Index        Oct. Index      Change

Center City            110.3                  91.8               20.2%

Main Line                77.5                  93.5             -17.1%

Philadelphia             90.2                  94.3               -4.4%

Bucks                       68.0                  71.8               -5.3%

Chester                     59.6                  60.2               -1.0%

Delaware                  68.2                  68.5               -0.4%

Montgomery            67.0                  71.7               -6.6%

New Jersey

County                   Sept. Index        Oct. Index      Change

Burlington               53.9                    62.0             -13.0%

Camden                   58.6                    64.2              -8.7%

Gloucester               75.3                    69.0               9.0%

Mercer                     58.2                    61.4              -5.1%

Salem                      49.1                    70.8              -30.7%


County                   Sept. Index        Oct. Index      Change

Kent                       53.8                   69.7               -22.8%

New Castle             69.4                  67.7                   2.5%

The Greater Philadelphia region saw a 4.7 percent decrease in September real estate activity moving to an index of 68.2 from the upwardly revised August index of 71.6.

September’s decrease in the region’s activity follows a 2.9 percent increase in the August index and is 17.9 percent lower than September 2007 when the index stood at 83.

Compared to findings reported by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index, real estate activity in the Greater Philadelphia region fared better than the Northeast index and fell slightly below National index.

The NAR index showed a 16.8 percent decrease in pending sales in the Northeast and a 4.6 percent decrease nationally.

Center City saw the largest increase in real estate activity rising 20.2 percent to an index of 110.3, which follows a 21.9 percent decrease in August.

Despite the rise in pending home sales activity in Center City, Philadelphia County fell 4.4 percent in September to an index of 90.2.

Delaware County fared the best in the five-county Metro area, decreasing 0.4 percent to an index of 68.2, followed by Chester County falling one percent.

Pending home sales in Montgomery County fell 6.6 percent to an index of 67 in September - the lowest index for the county since the HomExpert Report started tracking pending activity in February 2007.

The Main Line area saw a 17.1 percent.

Southern New Jersey pending home sales decreased seven percent in September.

Gloucester County lead the 12-county Greater Philadelphia market and was the only county in Southern New Jersey to see a rise in residential real estate activity, increasing nine percent in September.

Salem County fell 30.7 percent to an index of 49.1 – the lowest index recorded in the 12-county region since the HomExpert Report started tracking pending activity in February 2007.

Delaware real estate activity fell 3.2 percent in September.

Kent County saw fell 22.8 percent.

New Castle County pending home sales increased 2.5 percent.

While the September pending homes sales index for the Greater Philadelphia region decreased 4.7 percent, it is 17.9 percent below the September 2007 index, moving from an index of 83 in 2007 to 68.2 in 2008.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania index is 17.4 percent below a year ago.

Southern New Jersey is down 20.7 percent.

Delaware fell 13.5 percent below last year’s September index.“We’re seeing a stalled market throughout the 12 counties,” said Storti. “Sellers are waiting to sell before they purchase. Meanwhile, people wanting to sell are in a wait-and-see period before putting up the for sale sign until the economy shows some improvement. With inventory starting to shrink, buyers are still taking advantage of the market conditions but taking longer to make a decision. We’re keeping an eye toward next month’s index to see how big the impact of the national stock market downturn was to October activity.”

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2002. The Prudential Fox & Roach, REALTORS HomExpert Pending Home Sales Index is modeled after the national index created by the National Association of Realtors®.
The Greater Philadelphia region includes counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware, which are: Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, Salem, Kent and New Castle.

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