According to data released by the National Association of Realtors, the median price for a single-family home fell 1.8 percent to $217,800 in 2007, the first annual decline on record since 1968, when the group began tracking such data.
“It’s the first price decline in many, many years and possibly going back to the Great Depression,” said the group’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, in a statement.
The group also reported that sales of existing single-family homes fell 13 percent last year, the largest drop in 25 years since plunging 17.7 percent in 1982.
NAR said sales of SFRs, townhomes, co-ops, and condos dipped 2.2 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million, 22 percent below the 6.27 million-unit level in December 2006.
“Home sales remain weak despite improved affordability conditions in many parts of the country, but we could get a quick boost to the market if loan limits are raised in combination with the bold cut in the Fed funds rate,” added Yun.
“Home prices are lower, mortgage interest rates continue to decline and incomes are higher, but many potential buyers are delaying a purchase.”
The median existing single-family home price was $206,500 last month, down 6.5 percent from the same period a year earlier.
In December, sales were down in all regions of the country, led by a 4.6 percent drop in the Northeast, 2.1 percent decline in the West, 1.7 percent fall in the Midwest, and a 1 percent dip in the South.
Despite the record decline, total sales of 5,652,000 last year was the fifth highest figure recorded, 12.8 percent below the 6,478,000 transactions recorded in 2006.