Home prices up; sales down By ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer 8/8/2007
Home sales dropped slightly in June, but that didn't stop prices from making a hefty jump in metropolitan Tulsa. About 1,334 homes changed hands, compared with 1,359 in May and 1,456 in June 2006, the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. The midyear total is 6,649 home sales, nearly 200 fewer than the number sold in the first half of 2006. Ron Sumner, president of GTAR, said the drop may stem from jitters over the national real estate market. Once-hot areas of the country such as California and Florida are experiencing plummeting sales and stagnant prices. "There's so much negative publicity on a national level as to how bad the real estate market is that it's affecting us, even though our market isn't bad," he said. Sumner said Tulsa never experienced a housing bubble, and the area's continued job growth and strengthening economy would normally keep sales high. The subprime lending sector, which is battered by record loan defaults and lender bankruptcies, may also be contributing to the lower sales as local and national lenders tighten their standards, Sumner said. "Some of the adjustable-rate mortgages just aren't available anymore," he said. Despite the lower sales in June, the average price for a home in the Tulsa area increased 8.9 percent to $163,521. Also, the median figure rose 5.7 percent. Sumner said the price increase was caused by market demand. Though sales dropped, so did the inventory of available homes. He also noted that prices increases are occurring in all price ranges. "The median measures the sales price for the home in the exact middle of the list, rather than the average," he said. "When the median goes up, it appears there's a general price increase."