Posted by: Brian Powers | April 15, 2009

Metro Home Sales Up, But Prices Plunge

…Volume of Homes Sold continues to increase

…Average sales price continues to decline

…Local housing market is still being flooded with foreclosures

…Prices won’t recover until the rate of foreclosures drastically declines…the foreclosure rate won’t decline until the job market improves

…Long story short… IT’S ALL ABOUT JOBS !

– Brian

Metro home sales up, but prices plunge

Metro area’s inventory of unsold homes is at 9 1/2 months and the median price is $42,500

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

A glimmer of hope: March home sales in Metro Detroit jumped by a third, and the backlog of home and condominium inventories thinned by 20 percent, according to Realcomp in Farmington Hills.

Beyond the glimmer: It wasn’t enough to pull the market out of its slide.

The albatross of foreclosed homes sank the median sales price in the region to $42,500 last month, the lowest median sales price Realcomp has recorded since it began tracking monthly sales in 1993.

The 52.7 percent drop from March 2008 was among the sharpest year-to-year declines recorded by Realcomp, the state’s largest multilisting realty service.

“The inventory of (unsold) homes is now at 9 1/2 months,” said Fran Green, Realcomp marketing manager.

Several area Realtors declined to speculate over whether the market has bottomed out. But Dearborn Realtor Dana Holben and others say they are seeing improvement.

“We sold 225 (properties) last month, which is a big improvement from last year,” Holben said. “And the average days of a home being on the market is dropping. All of that is positive.

“But the foreclosure issue is still something we need to overcome. I wish I could say we’ve turned the corner, but we need to see several quarters of this.”

In the region, last month’s house and condominium sales improved by 29.8 percent to 5,426 in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and St. Clair counties.

Inventories dropped by 13,599, to 65,091 available units. The average days on the market also decreased by nearly three weeks from March 2008, to 101 days.

On a larger scale, Pulte Homes Inc.’s acquisition of Centex Corp. will make Bloomfield Hills home to the nation’s largest homebuilder and indicates Pulte — one of southeast Michigan’s largest non-automotive companies — is preparing for the end of a housing market crash.

Bloomfield Hills-based Pulte, the nation’s third-largest homebuilder, and Dallas-based Centex, the fourth-largest, announced the first merger of homebuilders since the nation’s housing market began to tank in 2007.

The $1.3 billion transaction, in which each Centex share will be exchanged for 0.975 shares of Pulte upon the merger’s close, will keep corporate control in Bloomfield Hills and ensure the retention of Pulte’s name and CEO Richard Dugas.

Meanwhile, Metro Detroit remains a bargain in real estate: Sales of foreclosed property — 3,543 — were nearly double those of non-foreclosed sales.

Foreclosed properties continue to move at a brisk pace. International buyers are snapping up cheap properties in Detroit and the region, said several Realtors who deal in that market.

Realtors such as Ian Mason still have multiple listings for $1,000 or less, which means the price could possibly be negotiated to $1 or even nothing. That’s rare, though.

There is one listing in Detroit of five homes being sold as a package for $45,000.

Livingston was the only county in the region where the median sales price — foreclosed and non-foreclosed property, combined — reached into six figures last month. The median sales price in Livingston was $128,750 in March.

That was still a 28.5 percent drop from a year ago, when it was $180,000.

In Detroit, the median sales price plummeted to $5,800 — a 47.3 percent nosedive from a March 2008.

Find this article at:
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090415/BIZ/904150347
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