Median sale price on GJ homes takes tumble

The median sale price for a single-family home in Grand Junction fell by $8,100 from the second quarter to the third quarter, according to Bob Reece, president of Advanced Title Technology in Grand Junction.

Real estate officials consider the median home price a better indicator of home values than the average home price because it’s not influenced by the highest and lowest selling prices. The median price is the point at which half of the homes sell for more than the amount, and half sell for less.

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) real estate database of Grand Junction Area Board of Realtors reports the median home price at $234,900 for the third quarter of 2008, down from $243,000 in the second quarter. In 2006 and 2007, median home prices hit the year’s high before dropping in the fourth quarter, according to the MLS. The chart shows a decline of 3.3 percent from the second to third quarter of 2008 and a 3.29 percent drop from the same time last year, when the median price was $242,900.

“It’s an indication that median prices of homes have softened,” Reece said.

One factor in the decline, Reece said, is tightened mortgage lending.

“Some of those people that could have qualified for a loan a year ago or two years ago,” Reece said, “can’t qualify today because they enjoyed, perhaps, zero down payment.”

It also is simple economics, Reece said.

“When the demand goes down the price goes down,” he said. “The market eventually finds where it should go. When it’s open like this, it will seek the right price range for every type of housing, whether it’s median or in the upper ranges. In all the price segments we’ll see a readjustment of the price points in every market range. That’s actually good for the market.”

Meanwhile, home values have declined slightly in the third quarter, and are down 2.3 percent, he said.

The MLS measurement of median home price does not include condominiums, townhomes, modular homes or mobile homes, Reece said. Reports for the second quarter this year showed that for all single-family homes, condominiums, mobile and modular homes, the median price was $229,000.

“If you include those, the numbers fluctuate so much more. I don’t think they are a very good view of housing,” Reece said. “A stick-built house fluctuates less.”

According to the Denver Business Journal, the single-family home median price in Denver for September decreased 11.78 percent to $216,150 from $245,000 one year ago. That report cites from Metrolist Inc. MLS data.

A report Monday said the Standard & Poor’s/Case Schiller 20-city index dropped a record 16.6 percent in August from a year ago, and price declines surpassed 30 percent in Las Vegas and Phoenix.


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