Distressed Sales Put Pressure on Prices

The national median existing single-family home price was $158,700 in the first quarter, down 4.6 percent from $166,400 in the first quarter of 2010. The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. Distressed homes typically sold at a discount of about 20 percent, accounted for 39 percent of first quarter sales, up from 36 percent a year earlier.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist,said lower priced homes have seen the best sales performance. “The biggest sales increase has been in the lower price ranges, which are popular with investors and cash buyers,” he said. “The preponderance of sales activity at the lower end is bringing down the median price, so what we’re seeing is the result of a change in the composition of home sales.”

Although sales are slightly below a year ago, the volume of homes sold for $100,000 or less in the first quarter was 8.9 percent higher than the first quarter of 2010, creating a downward skew on the overall median price.

The share of all-cash home purchases rose to 33 percent in the first quarter from 27 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

How is Portland, Maine holding up?

Well ending March 31st 2011.. a total of 102 home and condo transactions transpired compared with 136 in 2010 and thus representing a somewhat significant volume decrease of 25% year over year! Despite the volume drop.. median prices continue to remain strong and actually showed a statistical 8% jump from $206,000 in the first quarter of 2010 compared with $222,000 this previous quarter. Buyers “from away” coupled with still many first time home buyers in the marketplace continue to help keep our market strong overall.

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