Home Prices Fall in More Than Half of the Nation’s Biggest Markets

Posted on July 14, 2007. Filed under: Nationwide Markets, Out of Town Buyers |

Excepts of the New York Times article are reprinted below:  
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According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, the biggest declines were in Florida — Sarasota-Bradenton (down 18 percent),  Palm Bay-Melbourne (17 percent) and Cape Coral-Fort Myers (11.7 percent). The declines in prices were especially steep for condominiums.

 “You have two kinds of weakness here: there is the traditional economic-driven weakness in parts of the Midwest, and there is the bubble-bursting weakness,” said Jan Hatzius, chief United States economist at Goldman Sachs. “That’s what is bringing down the national home price appreciation rate.”

Sales increased in six states — Alaska, Mississippi, Kentucky, Texas, Arkansas and Illinois — and were flat in Utah. The Realtors did not have enough data on sales in Idaho, New Hampshire and Vermont.

In addition to weaker sales and declining prices, the number of homes on the market has been climbing. That suggests, economists say, that prices may have to fall further for sales to pick up and the overall housing market to recover. In the fourth quarter, the vacancy rate for owner-occupied homes was 2.7 percent, up from 2 percent a year before and the highest it has been since the Census Bureau started compiling the data in 1956.

“That means we have got a while before this thing fully adjusts,” said Edward Leamer, an economist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Mr. Leamer noted that individual sellers often preferred to wait rather than cut the price to a level that would be agreeable to most buyers.

Somewhere in the middle is the rising and direct need for real estate marketing.

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