The size-adjusted median home sale price registered another decline in August. Over the past twelve months, according to this measure, single family resale home prices are down 5.4 percent while condo prices are off 7.3 percent. Since the series peaked in September 2005, the single family home price has declined 9.4 percent and the condo price by 12.6 percent.
In the first half of 2007, the median-based price measures got fairly out of step with the more accurate but less timely Case-Shiller Home Price Index because the subprime-only mortgage tightening caused the median indicators to overstate actual pricing power. Now that the credit crunch is affecting the entire housing market, it’s possible that the size-adjusted median will once again start accurately reflecting what’s going on.
However, the tightening didn’t begin until August, while the August sales data reflects the closing of deals that were primarly made in July. Round two of the mortgage credit crunch probably won’t make itself fully known until we get next month’s housing data.
— RICH TOSCANO