Friday, February 27, 2009


January existing home sales plunge 52.5% in Westchester; sales, prices also down in Rockland, Putnam
By Frank Brill • The Journal News • February 27, 2009
Existing home sales and prices tumbled across the Lower Hudson Valley in January, adding to worries Realtors already had about whether spring will herald its usual reputation for boosting real estate sales.

Westchester County’s numbers were particularly grim. Existing home sales plunged 52.5 percent based on sales of 121 units in January, down from unit sales of 255 a year earlier. The median sales price was down 17.1 percent to $535,000 from $645,000 in January 2008.

“We’re very concerned,” said P. Gilbert Mercurio, the chief executive of the Westchester County Board of Realtors, which compiles housing data for both Westchester and Putnam.


Existing home sales, January, 2007-2009
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“Those numbers are reflecting a very serious drop-off in the activity in this area… ,” he said. “It looks like the downstate area was especially hard hit.”

Putnam sales plunged 40.8 percent as median sales prices fell 4.8 percent to $350,000. Its median had risen in December from a year earlier.

Rockland sales, which actually rose year-over-year in December, fell 17.1 percent in January. The county’s median tumbled 12.8 percent to $414,000.

All told, sales of existing homes were up in only five of 58 counties reporting results to the New York State Association of Realtors for January after being up in 15 counties in December. January median sales prices rose year-over-year in 15 counties, down slightly from year-over-year gains in 16 counties in December.

Across New York, the median sales price of $205,000 was down 12.8 percent from January 2008. Sales were down 30.5 percent statewide based on unit sales of 3,651. The statewide numbers include complete numbers reported by 58 counties and partial data from other counties in the state.

Complete data is unavailable from four counties — Bronx, Franklin, Hamilton and New York — in the Realtors’ survey.

The latest month’s results are reported as preliminary, though the Realtors rarely note revisions in subsequent months.

(Updated Feb. 25, 2009)