Today’s housing numbers reported by the National Association of Realtors were uniformly awful. July was the worst month for sales of single-family homes since May 1995, the trade group said.
A breakout for 20 big urban markets shows that even the “best” city, San Diego, posted sales that were down 15 percent from a year ago, in July 2009.
In Minneapolis, the worst of the markets, sales were down 42 percent.
Even though sales were down in most markets, the median price was up a bit in some. Boston posted the best result on pricing, with the median price up 7.6 percent over year-ago levels, even as sales of previously occupied homes dropped 26 percent.
In Atlanta, it was the worst of both worlds; sales were down 17 percent and the median price of a home sold fell 11 percent.
The Realtors blamed the sharp drop on the expiration of a federal tax credit early this year. The tax credit clearly juiced sales in late 2009 and early this year. Now that all those deals have closed, sales have fallen off a cliff.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors, tried to put a bit of a positive spin on the report but said the current sales “pause” is likely to last through September.
“However, given the rock-bottom mortgage interest rates and historically high housing affordability conditions, the pace of a sales recovery could pick up quickly, provided the economy consistently adds jobs," Yun said.
That, of course, is a big if.
Read the full release with a link to city-by-city statistics, here.