New York 2011 home sales off pace, prices stabilize
Fueled by a strong fourth quarter, home sales in New York state rebounded somewhat but still finished 3.9% behind 2010 figures. The New York State Association of Realtors said the more positive 2010 numbers likely reflect the boost from the federal homebuyers' tax credit. The statewide median sales price nonetheless remained stable and on par with 2010 at year’s end. "The housing market sales comeback in the fourth quarter builds hope for an improving 2012 market," said Duncan MacKenzie, the association's CEO. "The continued stabilization of the statewide median sales price is a positive sign for homeowners and a signal for would-be buyers that it's time to focus on advantages such as record-low mortgage rates and solid affordability factors rather than price declines." Real estate agents in New York state sold 72,058 existing single-family homes in 2011, down from the 74,970 in 2010. For the fourth quarter, 18,345 existing homes sold, up 4.2% from 17,607 sales in the 2010 fourth quarter. When looking at just the month of December, sales surged 10.7% over November figures and were up 2.4% over December 2010. The 2011 statewide annual median sales price was $212,500, down 0.7% from the $214,000 median in 2010. The fourth quarter 2011 median was $205,000, a decrease of 5.1% from the 4Q 2010. Still, the upward sales swing is in contrast to low consumer confidence in the housing market from a recent NYSAR/Siena Research Institute consumer sentiment survey on the New York real estate market. That survey polled more than 2,400 New Yorkers during the months of October, November and December. Survey respondents said it was a good time to buy, but not to sell with 49% saying the market had worsened over the last year while only 15% believed conditions improved. Expectations for the housing market and property values a year from now are slightly stronger across the state, however, according to the survey. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.