April sales soften but prices rise

Real estate sales were essentially flat with March but declined in both dollars and transaction volume versus the year ago period. Transactions fell 13% to 117 and were down by 2 sales from the 119 this March. Dollar volume fell a more modest 7% versus April 2013 to $59.5 million and were down only 2.1% from March.
The better dollar volume performance can be attributed to two factors. First, average selling prices ticked up in both the single family and multi-family markets. Year-to-date the average selling price for single family properties moved up to $846,385 versus $767,545 at this time last year. Multi-family houses have averaged $377,100 so far this year up from $319,227 last April and $344,578 for all of last year.
The second factor pushing up the dollar volume was a shift in demand to higher priced properties. Properties under $300,000 accounted for only 25.3% of all sales versus 36.2% in the prior three months while sales over $900,00 were 13.1% of sales versus 9.6% January thru March. The reduction in inventory over the last year is having a decidedly positive impact on prices and are shortening sales cycles particularly at the higher end of the market.
Year to date, transaction volume is down 7% to 421 sales but dollar volume is still ahead 2013 rising 4% to $212.8 million. Foreclosure activity is continuing to wane as there were only 8 actions this April versus 24 a year ago. Although foreclosed properties were never a major portion of the market, declining foreclosure activity can only have a positive impact on pricing.

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