Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Home Sales Drop in April, Defy Seasonal Pattern

Figures just posted by the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors (GAAR) show that sales of single family detached homes declined in April. Yes, the decline was tiny. April 2011 had 567 sales while April 2010 had 570. The performance defies the general seasonally trend that Albuquerque sales increase during the April and build to a summer peak.
This is the sixth year out of 14 years, going back to 1997 that sales have dropped from March to April. However, go back just ten years and sales have dropped March to April in only three years. Further, last April’s increase doesn’t really count because the figures were inflated by the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit that ended in April 2010. April to May sales last dropped in 2006 and 2007.
The future is exactly pretty either. That’s because pending sales, the leading indicator for closed sales the following month, were the 903 in April, the same as March.
The problem is simple—jobs. Though metro Albuquerque wage jobs increased by 1,000 in March over February, the annual performance (March 2010 to March 2011) showed a 3,000-job loss. The March situation marked 30 months of year-over-year job loss, says the Department of Workforce Services. Those 30 months started in October 2008.
Median and average single family detached home prices—respectively $165,000 and $196,321—inched up in April, but fell well short of returning to the February levels of $171,750 and $220,299.
A multi-decade veteran of selling homes in metro Albuquerque puts it this way, “Never thought sleepy old Albuq would be so hit by these national trends. Suffice it to say, this has been the worst cycle I have ever seen.”
GAAR provides eight measures of market conditions. The measures report inventory, sales and prices. The only one showing a positive change from March was the average time it took to sell a home. That is, it took longer—twelve days longer on average—to sell a detached home during April 2011 that during April 2010. All eight categories were negative during April for condos and townhouses and by bigger margins than for detached homes. Only 37 condos sold during April. Those few that did sell, sold in 71 days, down 26% from the 96 day average sales period of April 2010.

No comments: