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Existing-home sales in New Jersey plunged nearly 24 percent in the third quarter, according to news from the National Association of Realtors.

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Nationwide, the decline was more than 12 percent.

And yet, median prices in central New Jersey, which includes all of Monmouth County, soared by 7.3 percent, the NAR reports today.

Huh?

From a story at the Wall Street Journal online:

Sales of existing homes fell in 38 states during the summer, led by steep declines in Arizona, Florida and California, as the once-booming housing market showed further signs of a steep slowdown, said the National Association of Realtors…

The weakness in sales also affected prices with 45 metropolitan areas experiencing price declines, according to a separate survey the Realtors did of 148 metropolitan areas. The price survey showed that the median — or midpoint — price for an existing home sold in the third quarter dipped to $224,900, down 1.2% from a year earlier.

Yet the NAR says that prices on existing homes sold during the quarter in the metro region that includes Monmouth rose, to $415,100, from $386,900, in the year-earlier period. And, as we reported last week, the Otteau Group says that inventories of homes for sale are soaring in this neck of the woods.

Any experts out there care to explain this? Why would anyone pay more for a house today than a year ago? And is this actually happening here?

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