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Home Prices Drop Sharply

June 1, 2009

11 April 09

Average 1Q sale price down 40%
Saturday, April 11, 2009

BY STEFANIE MURRAY
The Ann Arbor News

It’s well known that home sale prices have been declining. But 40 percent is a steep drop, no matter how you look at it.

That’s how much the average sale price of a home in Washtenaw County fell in the first quarter of 2009 compared to 2008. The Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors reported the average sale price in the first quarter of 2009 was $154,015.

Home sale prices haven’t appreciated here year-over-year since 2005. Most recently, a high number of foreclosures and short sales have held prices down. Some agents say they don’t anticipate seeing gains until 2010.

“I’m not pleased, for my sellers’ sake, with some of the sale prices that are coming in,” said Matt Dejanovich, a real estate agent with Real Estate One in Ann Arbor, who has 20 homes sales pending. “But from an opportunity standpoint there is a lot of activity in the marketplace.”

The number of homes and condominiums sold in the county slowed 8.2 percent to 593 units during the first three months of 2009 compared to 2008. Listings fell 32 percent.

Dejanovich said the countywide average sale price data may be a bit misleading, however. Prices are being skewed by a low number of higher-priced homes being sold, coupled with a lot of first-time homebuyers making purchases, he said.

The federal economic stimulus bill – which gives an $8,000 tax credit to first-time homebuyers – is also partly responsible for boosting sales in a lower price range, Dejanovich said.

Chet Hill, who manages the Keller Williams Realty office in Ann Arbor, said short sales, foreclosures and investment sales have become a huge part of many agents’ business.

For the month of March alone in Washtenaw County, sales of homes and condos slid 11 percent while listings dropped 19 percent. The average sale price fell from $202,569 in March 2008 to $150,263 in March 2009.

In the city of Ann Arbor, 42 homes were sold last month, down from 59 at the same time last year. The average sale price dropped 3 percent to $255,386.

In Ypsilanti, 16 homes were sold, up from 15 last year. The average sale price in Ypsilanti declined 53 percent to $58,401.

Contact Stefanie Murray at smurray@annarbornews.com or 734-994-6932. Or follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/StefanieMurray.

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