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Home sales prices in boro drop 6.6%

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Home sales prices declined in Queens during the first few months of this year due to the recession and the nation’s credit problems, a new report released last Thursday revealed.

The average sales price of a Queens home dropped 6.6 percent from $451,469 in the first quarter of 2008 to $421,818 in the opening period this year but inched up from the price in the final quarter last year, the Prudential Douglas Elliman report said. Prepared by Miller Samuel Inc., the report said sellers “price property ‘behind’ the market [rate],” increasing the amount of time it would take to sell a home.

“Although the credit crunch was likely the cause for the level of sales activity to be cut in half in Queens, the housing market continued to see modest declines in price indicators as sellers remain behind the market,” the report said.

The report indicated that the average sales price was 0.6 percent greater than the price in the last quarter of 2008, which was $419,153. However, the median sales price for the opening 2009 quarter was $393,000, 1.8 percent lower than the median of $400,001 in the last quarter, and 4.8 percent less than the median of $413,000 in the first quarter of 2008, according to the report.

Home sales across Queens dropped 52.2 percent from last year, with 1,801 sales in the first quarter of 2009 compared to 3,771 during the same period last year, the report said.

The area of the borough with the largest drop in average and median sales prices was western Queens, according to Douglas Elliman. The average sales price in that region was $425,617 in the first quarter of this year, a 13.6 percent drop from $492,697 during the same period last year. The median sales price declined 25.1 percent from $550,000 during the first quarter last year to $412,110 in the first quarter this year, the report said.

Southern Queens, which has experienced a surge in home foreclosures, saw the average sales price drop 10.7 percent from $433,387 last year to $387,033 in the opening quarter this year, according to the report. The median sales price fell 12.9 percent from $430,000 in the first quarter of 2008 to $374,500 the same period this year.

Central Queens had an average sales price of $399,406 in the first quarter of last year, but it dropped 7.9 percent to $367,699 in the January−March span this year, according to Douglas Elliman. The median sales price for that area dropped 14.7 percent from $375,000 last year to $320,000 during the first quarter this year.

Although northeast Queens had a small drop in the average sales price, which went from $469,014 in the first quarter of 2008 to $451,108 during the same period this year, the median sales price recorded a great decrease, according to the report. The median sales price in the area was $550,000 in the first three months last year and decreased 25.8 percent to $451,108 this year.

Two areas of Queens had increases in their sales prices, according to the Douglas Elliman.

In northwest Queens, the average sales price increased by 2.1 percent from $531,178 during the first quarter of 2008 to $542,343 this year. The median sales price rose 15.7 percent from $475,000 last year to $549,428 during the first quarter of 2009, the report said.

Douglas Elliman cited new development in northwest Queens as the factor for the increase.

Average sales price in the Rockways increased 9 percent from $406,813 in the first quarter of 2008 to $443,607 in the first quarter of this year. Median sales prices in that area increased 1.4 percent from $394,446 in the first quarter of 2008 to $400,000 this year, the report said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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