On January 25, 2011, the New York Times ran a story titled: “U. S. Home Prices Slump Again, Hitting New Lows.” The same day, the headline of the lead story in an online Realtor® newsletter was: “New Home Sales Surge.”
Both stories were true. Each emphasized different facts.
For our local real estate market, “Mixed Indicators” might be an accurate description. Median price reported in MLS for single family homes sold in Windham County in 2010 was up over the previous year by 2.6%. But the number of sales were down: -2.5%
When we examine the actual numbers, the difference in Windham County residential sales figures between 2010 and 2009 may not be significant. The 2.6% rise in median price was up from $195,000 to $200,000. And the -2.5% drop in number of sales was from 522 to 509, which is a difference of only 13 sales. If someone had sneezed or scratched their nose; what was up might have been down, and down might have been up.
When we look at the figures [shown on the accompanying chart] what we really see is that, since the crash of 2008, our local residential real estate market has shown little change: either in median prices, or in number of sales. In the context of the national recession, holding steady may not be so bad.
The Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show a dramatic contrast between local and national trends. According to Case-Shiller: “Measured from June/July 2006 through November 2010, the peak-to-current decline for both the10-City Composite and 20-City Composite is -30.3%. The improvements from their April 2009 trough are +4.8% and +3.3%, respectively.”
Compared with the -30.3% national decline: From our 2007 peak median price, the total drop in Windham County has been -7%.
What is in store for local real estate in the upcoming year? I plan to address that question with 100% accuracy: That article is scheduled for publication in January, 2012.