The real estate slowdown along the East Coast worsened in July, as sales activity plummeted and prices were either declining or stifled in Florida, Massachusetts, Virginia and North Carolina, according to statistics provided by Realtor associations in those states.
In North Carolina, sales dipped 2 percent in July compared to a year ago, marking the first year-over-year drop in sales activity in several years, the North Carolina Association of Realtors announced.
Existing-home sales in North Carolina totaled 13,652 last month, down from 13,977 posted in July 2005, NCAR reported. The average existing-home sales price gained 4 percent during the period, rising from $213,136 to $221,147.
In Florida, sales last month dropped significantly from a year earlier — for the eighth straight month — as prices barely eked out annual gains, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.
A total of 14,451 existing single-family homes sold statewide last month, a decrease of 33 percent from the 21,691 homes sold during the previous July, according to FAR. The median price of an existing Florida home grew 1 percent from a year ago, rising from $248,200 to $250,800. 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 July, with a total of 4,260 condos sold statewide compared with 6,739 in July 2005 — a 37 percent decrease, FAR reported. The statewide median sales price for condos last month dipped 1 percent to $210,200, down from $211,900 in July 2005.
In Massachusetts, sales of single-family homes and condominiums fell for a fourth consecutive month in July compared to the same period a year ago, and selling prices declined modestly, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
In the detached single-family home market, Massachusetts sales declined 25.3 percent last month, falling from 5,328 homes sold in July 2005 to 3,982 this July. Last month’s sales total represents the lowest July home sales volume in over a decade, dating back to July 1995 when 3,688 homes were sold, MAR reported.
Additionally, condo sales in the Bay State have fallen 21.4 percent over the previous 12 months, declining from a July record of 2,395 units sold last year to 1,883 this July.
“Today’s buyers are looking for value and many are still holding out for lower prices,” said MAR President David Wluka in a prepared statement. “Increasingly, sellers also have stopped actively looking for homes until they have reached agreement on the sale of their own home,” he noted in explaining the more moderate sales pace during July.
Across Massachusetts, the median selling price for detached single-family homes dropped 3.5 percent last month, from a record-high median of $375,000 in July 2005 to $361,750 this past July. In the condo market, the median selling price decreased 4.1 percent in the past year, from an all-time monthly high of $287,900 last July to $276,000 in July 2006.
Today’s more modest prices follow some of the largest price drops in years, MAR reported. The 3.5 percent drop in July’s median selling price for detached homes is the largest annual price decline since March 1993 when prices fell 3.9 percent, and the 4.1 percent decrease in the median price for condos is the largest decline since December 1998 when prices slid 6 percent from December 1997.
In Virginia, July home sales were down for the 11th consecutive month and prices fell considerably from the previous month and year-ago levels, the Virginia Association of Realtors reported.
Statewide, closed sales were off 25 percent for July compared to a year ago, VAR reported. Last month, 10,500 closings were recorded, down from 14,077 for the same month last year.
Among the areas that actually showed increases in closed transactions for the month included the Eastern Shore, Lexington/Buena Vista, Massanutten, South Central Virginia, Greater Augusta, Chesapeake Bay & Rivers, and Southwest Virginia.
Virginia’s median existing-home price for July was $192,738, down 10.3 percent from $214,950 in June, and down 3.7 percent from $200,125 in July 2005.