House Prices, Sales Falling With Economy

If you have a job and feel secure, it might be time to become a homeowner.

The folks who keep tabs on the market are reporting the sharpest decline in sales and median prices for single-family homes in about 20 years.

Single-family home sales fell 23.7 percent in 2008 compared to the prior year, while the median price dropped 9.2 percent from 2007, according to The Warren Group, publisher of The Commercial Record.

The Warren Group started tracking Connecticut's residential real estate market in 1988 and the drops are the steepest yearly drops ever recorded.

In 2008, 24,721 single-family homes were sold, down from 32,384 in 2007. Last year's sales pace was the slowest since 1991.

The median selling price of single-family homes dipped to a four-year low, reaching $268,000 in 2008 compared to $295,000 in 2007.

"Single-family home sales have been declining for four years now, but this is the first time that median home prices have dropped since the mid-1990s," said Timothy M. Warren Jr., chief executive of The Warren Group. "Before last year, Connecticut had avoided the price slumps that neighboring Massachusetts and Rhode Island witnessed. But with sales activity in Connecticut plunging by double-digit percentages nearly every month in 2008, it was inevitable that prices would have to give."

Connecticut's condominium market also endured the biggest percentage declines in prices and sales since 1990. A total of 8,657 condos were sold in 2008, a 33.2 percent decrease from 12,962 in 2007.

The median condo price slipped 4.2 percent to $196,500 from $205,000 in 2007.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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