Despite another month of double-digit drops in home sales across Massachusetts and Virginia, sales in North Carolina continued to defy the East Coast slowdown, according to Realtor associations in those states.
In North Carolina, existing-home sales gained 7 percent in June from the same month last year. According to statistics compiled by the North Carolina Association of Realtors, 14,959 residential units were sold in June, up from 14,044 in June 2005.
The state’s average existing-home sales price, however, dropped 25 percent from a year ago, falling from $217,454 to $163,162.
Unlike 2005, which saw mountain and coastal regions leading the state in positive growth, many previously hot coastal areas are cooling down in both unit sales and prices. Coastal regions seeing a downturn in total dollar sales include Brunswick County and the Outer Banks at -57 percent and -47 percent, respectively. Additionally, the hot Charlotte market is leveling out with an 86 percent downturn in total dollar sales, the association reported.
In Massachusetts, the housing market continued to feel the pinch from rising mortgage rates, stagnant job growth and higher energy prices in June, with sales of detached single-family homes and condominiums falling for a third consecutive month, according to a report issued by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
In the detached home market, sales declined 16.6 percent over the past 12 months, from 6,115 homes sold in June 2005 to 5,101 in the same month this year, while condo sales slid 14.3 percent, from 2,781 units sold last June to 2,382 in June 2006.
The supply of homes for sale also continued to climb last month over year-ago levels, allowing buyers to negotiate harder and extend their home search longer than in recent years.
“There’s little urgency on the part of today’s buyers to act. They’re feeling anxious about the future and have lost some of their purchasing power of late as mortgage rates have risen steadily over the first six months of the year,” said MAR President David Wluka, of Wluka Real Estate in Sharon. “Additionally, some homeowners, especially empty-nesters looking to downsize, aren’t in a position to have to sell right now, so they’re being patient in the hopes of getting their price.”
The statewide median selling price for detached homes in Massachusetts slipped a modest 1 percent over the past year, from $373,750 in June 2005 to $370,000 this June. Tthe median selling price for condos declined 1.1 percent, from $286,750 last June to $283,500 in June 2006. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
The number of active listings of single-family properties has increased 10 percent over the past 12 months, from 51,182 homes and condos on the market last June to 56,494 properties listed for sale in June 2006, the association reported. Consequently, market time has increased steadily as well. In the detached single-family home market, listing time rose from an average of 84 days in June 2005 to 111 days on the market for homes sold this June. Similarly, among condos, the average listing time has increased nearly a month, from 66 days last June to 98 days for units put under agreement in June 2006.
In Virginia, the home sales market continues to show some hot areas, as well as areas that are cooling, the Virginia Association of Realtors reported.
Statewide, closed sales were off 18 percent in June, with 12,577 closings reported, compared with 15,526 for the same period last year, according to VAR.
Areas showing increases in closed transactions for the month included the Charlottesville area, Eastern Shore, Harrisonburg/Rockingham County, Lexington/Buena Vista, Lynchburg, Chesapeake Bay & Rivers, New River Valley, Richmond Metro, Roanoke Valley, and Southwest Virginia.
“The areas in Virginia that are down are primarily along the “Golden Crescent” from Northern Virginia down to Hampton Roads; these areas have been the most active over the past couple of years because of the growth in jobs and population,” said VAR President Kit Hale of Roanoke. “Our more rural areas, however, such as Southwest Virginia, Lexington, Charlottesville and Lynchburg, are showing increases in sales.”
Virginia’s median existing-home price for June was $214,950, up 17.8 percent from $182,500 recorded in June 2005.
In June, 10,920 homes were put on the market in Virginia, a 24 percent decrease from last year’s 14,526. The average number of days on the market in June was 102, compared with 89 for the same period last year.