August Home Sale Data

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 15, 2006 - 11:39am

As we've all heard by now, year-over-year median price comparisons continue to decline. Here's a picture of resale median prices:

The condo median was up a bit from last month while the detached home median was down; both are down from last August. Year-over-year comparisons will continue to get more difficult up through November.

The price per square foot has declined pretty steadily since I started tracking it in May:

This trend towards getting more square footage for less money suggests that, as we have all discussed here many times, the overall median price is understating the extent to which prices are falling.

I do not have direct access to this data, but according to the U-T the median new home price is down 14.3% on the year. Many people suggest that this drop is caused by condo conversions, but it seems to me that the conversion buying craze was in full swing by last August, so I am not sure why conversions would be responsible for such a crushing y-o-y drop. I think at least some of that decline can be attributed to the fact that builders (unlike many private owners) know when it's time to cut their losses and are pricing units to move.

Sales volume actually improved a bit from last month, up 4% and 6% for detached homes and condos respectively. The bump in volume may be due to people jumping in to take advantage of the decline in rates. Whatever the cause, the increased volume didn't put much of a bid under home prices.

At the end of the month there were 6.6 months of detached inventory and 7.7 months of condo inventory.

Sorry for the terse nature of this article, but I've already taken way too long to get it written so there is no time for pleasantries. Instead, for your amusement, please enjoy this recent headline (and entire article if you are a subscriber) from the ever-perky San Diego Daily Transcript: "North County real estate 'bottomed out.'"

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Submitted by lindismith on September 15, 2006 - 3:34pm.

That first graph is interesting, or should I say, funny, because it truly shows how silly the median is as an indicator. I mean it's up, then it's down, then it's up. Silly, silly measurement.

The one below, is a much clearer picture of what's really going on. Nice job, Rich.

BTW, when I've heard friends blame it on condo conversions, it's because in their opinion, sooooooo many of them hit the market at the same time. It seems they think the market has been 'sullied' with low prices temporarily, and it isn't really true that the market is dropping. Blah, blah, blah.

I could only read the first sentence of the Transcript. They must be kidding. Perhaps the real truth is found further in?

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