Providing further evidence of an uneven recovery in the housing industry, Hanley Wood Market Intelligence (HWMI) reported last week that June subdivision sales improved in some Eastern and California markets while others continued to struggle.
Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, which tracks sales in communities of 10 units or more in select markets, reported that net sales in Washington D.C. improved 11 percent in June compared to a year ago. Among the other bright spots, HWMI found that net sales improved by 4 percent in Bakersfield, Calif., 8 percent in Northern New Jersey, and 10 percent in Southern New Jersey.
“In Los Angeles we saw a big 68 percent jump in net sales, but it was due to several condo projects opening, resuming sales, or auctioning units” said Jonathan Dienhart, director of published research for HWMI. “Single family sales are still down 63 percent there and town homes are off 39 percent.”
Several of the recovering markets owed their success in part to lower prices. Washington D.C., which appears to be one of the first housing markets to recover, enjoyed its second consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases. Median new-home prices were down 11 percent in June compared to a year earlier.
Prices held steady in neighboring Baltimore, a more affordable market, while June new-home sales there lagged last year’s levels by 4 percent.
The four percent sales increase in Bakersfield came at a price—a 17 percent decline in median new-home prices.
While new-home sales improved in the northern and southern ends of New Jersey, they were down 19 percent year over year in the central part of the state. Even so, new-home prices held fairly steady in land-constrained Central New Jersey, dropping only 2 percent from the year before.
The most recent sales tallies indicate that some Western markets are bottoming out. In Seattle, for instance, sales were down only 17 percent compared to a year earlier, much better than readings of 30 percent or more earlier in the year. It’s a similar story in San Francisco (sales down 15 percent, prices off 8 percent), San Diego (sales down 15 percent, prices up 6 percent), and Phoenix (sales down 13 percent, prices up 19 percent).
Other markets covered by HWMI are still struggling. In the Central Valley of California and in Sacramento, for instance, sales in June were roughly half of what they were a year earlier. Chicago, which has been doing much worse this year compared to last year, recorded a 62 percent decline in sales in June.
Boyce Thompson is editorial director of BUILDER.