Single-family home prices in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties dropped almost 8 percent in the second quarter from the same period in 2011, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
The median sale price in the region was $218,700 in the second quarter, about $18,000 less than the same period last year, the group reported. Half of the homes sold for more, half for less.
Thursday’s data stand in contrast to the first quarter of 2012, which saw regional home prices rise about 4 percent over the same period last year.
Drew Fishman, broker with Re/Max Atlantic in Northfield and former president of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, said spring and summer home sales have been brisk but that a second wave of foreclosures and short sales weighed down prices.
“There’s a lot of value for the money as long as you’re working, with decent income and good credit,” he said.
The value of median home resales in the region had grown steadily from 2001 to 2007. In 2001, the median home sold for $126,100 in the Atlantic City metropolitan area, which includes Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties. By 2007, it had more than doubled to $269,700, Realtor data show.
Prices then plummeted 6 percent and 13 percent in the next two years, and have bounced along the low to mid $220,000 range since.
While the Realtor data showed a recent drop, another analysis — by California-based real estate data firm CoreLogic — said home prices in June were flat in Atlantic County from the year before, declined about 3 percent in Cape May County and rose about 4 percent in Cumberland County.
Jane Jannarone, owner and broker at Exit Uptown Realty in Vineland, said establishing confidence is tough as potential buyers worry whether prices have indeed hit bottom, especially while prices bounce around.
“They are leery of buying now because they think if they buy now there could be a better purchase price six months or a year from now,” she said. “It’s so hard in this market to say, but if we’re not at the bottom, we’re certainly close to the bottom.”
Mary Lou Ferry, owner of Farley & Ferry Realty in Ventnor, said some buyers are still skeptical and waiting out the market.
Most buyer interest has come from homes in the $200,000 to $250,000 category, she said.
“There is a flurry of buyers in that lower price point. They’re scattered throughout the island; we’re seeing a lot of interest in Ventnor,” she said.
Median home prices rose in 110 of 147 metro areas across the country in the second quarter, the Realtor group reported. The national median was $181,500, a 7 percent increase from the second quarter of 2011.
Distressed homes, including those sold at short sales or through foreclosure, accounted for 26 percent of second-quarter sales.
First-time homebuyers accounted for 34 percent of the market, 6 percentage points lower than the historical average, the Realtors said.
Jannarone said most of the buyers she has seen in her Cumberland County market are aided by the Federal Housing Administration, which allows buyers smaller down payments. Land sales — which had been very flat in the past few years — have also been inching back recently.
“From our own personal experience, we are seeing a little more activity, so I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “Although it’s a very, very small light, we are getting more activity.”
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