Area home prices, sales falling

April 18, 2008 12:16:25 PM PDT
Home prices in the greater Philadelphia region fell only slightly in the first quarter, bucking the national trend, but sales plunged by more than one-third from a year ago, a regional real estate broker reported Friday. The 12-county area spanning southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and northern Delaware saw median prices of existing single-family homes and condos fall by 1.4 percent to $215,000, according to Devon-based Prudential Fox & Roach, the nation's fifth-largest real estate broker.

But the number of sales fell 33.5 percent, with the Pennsylvania side down 29.9 percent and New Jersey and Delaware each down 39 percent. The number of days it took to sell a home rose by 16 percent to 81.

Nationally, U.S. home sales were down over 23 percent in January and February, while prices declined by 4.6 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively. March figures from the National Association of Realtors will be released Tuesday.

Philadelphia median home prices rose by 1.5 percent to $135,000 and Chester County also saw an increase, up 0.8 percent to $297,500. But Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties all saw declines - Bucks by 0.6 percent to $279,450, Delaware by 2.4 percent to $195,000 and Montgomery by 4.7 percent to $255,000.

For the number of home sales, Philadelphia saw a drop of 29.9 percent, Montgomery fell 27 percent, Delaware and Bucks counties were each down 30.6 percent and Chester County declined by 32.7 percent.

Within Philadelphia, the downtown area had the highest price increase, up 11.4 percent in the quarter to $390,000. Northwest Philadelphia was up 6.8 percent to $181,500, South Philadelphia was down 3 percent to $160,000 and Northeast Philadelphia fell 4 percent to $143,000.

Home sales fell throughout the city, ranging from 10.6 percent in Center City to 33 percent in North Philadelphia.