National Median Condo Price Drops 3 % in Q2

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–Existing-home sales rose from the first quarter in 13 states, largely from buyers responding to discounted home prices, according to the latest quarterly survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Nearly one-quarter of metropolitan areas showed rising home prices in the second quarter from a year ago, with greatly mixed conditions continuing around the country.In the condo sector, metro area condominium and co-operative prices, covering changes in 54 metro areas, showed the national median existing-condo price was $220,000 in the second quarter, down 3.0 percent from $226,900 in the second quarter of 2007. Seventeen metros showed annual increases in the median condo price and 37 areas had price declines.“The price changes have probably as much to do with supply and demand fundamentals, as anything else,” Paul Bishop, NAR senior economist and managing director of research, tells MHN. “The markets that saw the biggest decreases in condo prices are the ones that has seen a condo boom in the last several years and the prices are now coming down. Many of these markets have also weakened due to rising foreclosures in the single-family sector.”Meanwhile, Bishop explains that the biggest performers did not see the big run-up in prices between 2001-2005, the way some of the other markets like Las Vegas, Miami, etc. did. “Neither did the stronger performers experience excess inventory,” says Bishop.The strongest condo price increases were in the Syracuse, N.Y. area, where the second-quarter price of $144,900 rose 17.8 percent from a year earlier, followed by the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner area of Louisiana, at $192,100, up 15.9 percent, and the Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land area of Texas, where the median condo price of $141,100 rose 9.9 percent from the second-quarter of 2007. Metro area median existing-condo prices in the second quarter ranged from $107,500 in the Wichita, Kan. area to $523,500 in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area. The second most expensive condo market reported was Honolulu at $330,000, followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana at $327,800.Other affordable condo markets include Greensboro-High Point, N.C., at $109,600 in the second quarter, and the Indianapolis area at $113,500.“There are substantial variations in the condo market depending on the regions and quarters, but some of the smaller and mid-size markets reflect the underlying strength and stability of the economy,” Bishop explains.