Despite another month of double-digit drops in home sales across Florida and Massachusetts, the North Carolina market maintained growth, albeit at a much slower pace, according to statistics provided by Realtor associations in those states.

Existing-home sales in North Carolina eked out a 0.06 percent gain last month, while sales dropped 31 percent in Florida and 9.9 percent in Massachusetts. Last month was the first month since January 2005 that North Carolina sales did not post double-digit growth.

According to statistics compiled by the North Carolina Association of Realtors, 11,334 residential units were sold in April, up slightly from 11,327 sold a year earlier. The average existing-home sales price was up 4 percent to $211,504.

In Florida, the housing sector continued to show signs of market adjustments in April as mortgage rates edged up and the inventory of homes available for sale remained at higher levels in many markets, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

A total of 16,392 existing single-family homes sold statewide last month, a decrease of 31 percent from the 23,844 homes that changed hands during the previous April, according to FAR. The existing-home median price rose 13 percent to $249,700 last month; a year ago, it was $221,100. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

Looking to Florida’s existing condominium market, sales of existing condos also decreased in April, with a total of 5,556 condos sold statewide compared with 8,775 in April 2005 for a 37 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos rose 4 percent to $222,900 last month; a year ago, it was $213,400.

Among the state’s larger markets, the Orlando metropolitan statistical area (MSA) reported 2,491 existing homes sold last month compared with 3,375 homes sold in April 2005 for a decrease of 26 percent.

Of the state’s smaller markets, the Tallahassee MSA reported a 5 percent gain in existing home sales in April, with a total of 436 homes changing hands compared with 415 homes sold last year.

In Massachusetts, housing demand continued to ease last month as rising mortgage rates, higher energy prices, and a steady increase in the inventory on unsold homes led to a slower sales pace for single-family homes and condominiums, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported.

Sales of detached single-family homes fell to their lowest April level in five years, declining 9.9 percent over the past year from 3,628 homes sold in April 2005 to 3,268 this past April, while condo sales decreased 10.3 percent over year-ago levels, from last April’s record high of 1,880 units sold to 1,686 condos sold in April 2006.

It’s the sixth time in the last seven months that detached home sales have declined from the same month one year earlier, and the first time in three months that condominium sales have dropped from the comparable period a year ago, the association reported.

While demand has softened in the past year, Massachusetts home prices have not dropped dramatically, but instead have remained relatively stable, according to MAR. In the detached single-family home market, the statewide median selling price rose a modest 0.3 percent over the last 12 months, climbing from $352,900 in April 2005 to $354,000 this April. Meanwhile, the statewide median selling price for condominiums slipped 2.5 percent, from $275,000 last April to $268,000 in April 2006. The modest decline ends a run of 87 consecutive months, dating back to January 1999, in which condo prices have increased in the Bay State.


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