From the AP:
Home sales in the Northeast tumbled nearly 20 percent in February from last year, the worst region in the country, as the recession and layoffs made buyers cautious, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.
The median sales price in the Northeast fell under 5 percent year-over-year to $251,200.
Nationally, sales of existing homes fell 10.3 percent in February from a year ago, without adjusting for seasonal factors. The U.S. median sales price slid almost 16 percent to $165,400.
Home sales in seven major Northeast cities recorded double-digit declines in February, while median prices continue to fall across the region, according to The Associated Press-Re/Max Monthly Housing Report, also released Monday.
The report analyzed sales transactions in nine Northeast metropolitan statistical areas filed by all real estate agents, regardless of company affiliation.
Pittsburgh sales fell the most in the region, plunging nearly 44 percent in February from the year before. The median price there, however, only dipped 1.4 percent to $109,450, the best showing in the Northeast. Inventory fell by more than 23 percent year-over-year.
The pink slips on Wall Street haven’t discouraged buyers from shopping around, said John Allegro, a real estate agent with ERA Caputo Realty in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
“Open house attendance is up. Activity has perked up a little,” he said.
But few are pulling the trigger yet, according to AP-Re/Max’s data. Home sales in the suburban counties surrounding New York City – Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties – look like the stock market. Sales were off by 33 percent in February and the median price fell more than 13 percent to $370,000. The supply of unsold homes also grew by nearly 5 percent, the only area in the Northeast to show an increase.
Nearby in Passaic, N.J., home to many Manhattan commuters, February sales fell 23 percent, while prices dropped nearly 13 percent from a year ago to $311,000.