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Red meat for the doom and gloomers

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis December 24, 2008 08:00 AM

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Ok, hereís more evidence that hopes for a housing market recovery are on hold.

Single-family home and condo sales posted year-over-year declines of 22 percent and 27 percent respectively this November, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reports.

There were some signs over the summer that sales were starting to rise, even as prices were continuing to plunge. Given the lag time it takes to close a home sale, those rising sales were reflected in the September and October home sales reports.

But the November numbers are the first clear indication of the impact the global financial and economic crisis that erupted this fall is having on home sales in Massachusetts.

And it doesnít look good

Numbers put out by the Warren Group, a local real estate data provider which publishes Banker & Tradesman, are equally grim.

Single-family home sales fell 18.4 percent in November on a year-over-year basis. And the median home price plunged 16.7 percent to $275,000, the largest drop in more than 20 years, according to the Warren Group.

But if all that looks bleak, take a look at the national numbers. The median home price fell more than 13 percent in November, to $181,300, the worst decline on record and likely the worst since the Great Depression, the National Association of Realtors reported.

All of which makes that rise in home sales this summer look like ancient history.

While falling prices and rising sales might seem an unnerving combo to homeowners worried about plunging values, itís the kind of stern medicine needed to get the market back on track.

Still, the Globe reports that there are signs that speculators and developers are starting to scoop up foreclosed units in some Boston neighborhoods. I guess at least that takes some inventory off the market.

Yet until the bargain hunters come out in force, itís hard to see the current market going
anywhere.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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