Condo Prices Flat Overall, Though Some Markets See Swings: NAR

Washington, D.C.--According to the latest quarterly survey by the National Association of Realtors, home prices "solidified" during the second quarter of 2010.

Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Washington, D.C.–According to the latest quarterly survey by the National Association of Realtors, home prices “solidified” during the second quarter of 2010, with more metropolitan areas showing increases from a year ago than otherwise. For condos and co-ops, as for single-family houses, “solidified” means that prices have moved only marginally since this time last year.

In the for-sale multifamily housing sector–covering changes in 55 metro areas–the national median price was relatively flat at $175,700 in 2Q10, according to NAR. That’s a 0.5 percent drop from the second quarter of 2009. Twenty-six metros showed increases in the median condo price from a year ago and 29 areas saw declines.

The national number for year-over-year changes in condo and cooperative prices masks considerable movement in some metro markets, however. The largest gain in median price between 2Q09 and 2Q10 happened to be in Trenton-Ewing, NJ, where they rose 11.5 percent, from $198,700 to $221,600. Syracuse, NY, and Columbus, Ohio, likewise experienced rare double-digit increases in condo prices: 11.2 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively.

Some of the largest losers in condo prices since this time last year were in unsurprising places. Jacksonville’s stock of for-sale multifamily housing saw a median price drop of 42 percent year-over-year, for instance. Reno-Sparks, Nev., experienced a 33.9 percent decline over the same period, and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale lost 15.9 percent.

Regionally, the south has the cheapest condos, with a median sales price of $124,000 in 2Q10, down 5.9 percent since a year ago. The northeast and the west have seen small increases in median prices since last year, by contrast: 2.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

The market for condos and co-ops mirrors the market for single-family housing, according to NAR. In the second quarter, 100 out of 155 metropolitan areas had higher median existing single-family home prices than they did during the second quarter of 2009, including 14 with double-digit increases; two metros were unchanged and 53 metros showed price declines.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, says the correction in home prices appears to have ended in 2009. “All year we’ve been seeing relatively flat national home prices, which appear to be supported by market fundamentals,” he says. “Prices in some areas remain below replacement construction costs, so even with an elevated supply of existing homes on the market we don’t expect any consequential movement in home prices for the foreseeable future. Very low inventory of newly built homes also will help to support home values.”