Kansas home sales decline in August

Kansas home sales fell 24.3 percent in August from a year ago, according to new figures released Friday by the Kansas Association of Realtors.

Sales totaled 2,180 units in August, down from 2,879 units in 2009. By comparison, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales decreased 19.9 percent in August from a year ago.

"This month's sales figures still reflect the hangover from the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit," Brian Jones, president of KAR and broker/owner of Jones Heritage Realtors in Pittsburg, said in a statement. "It will still take a few months to clearly see how the market will settle out."

Stan Longhofer, director of Wichita State University's Center for Real Estate, said the August figures represent a slight increase from July sales, also a national trend.

"If you were to do a seasonal adjustment, it's going to be true almost everywhere that sales last month were a slight recovery from July but down from August 2009," he said.

Longhofer cautioned, though, that sales comparisons are going to be "misleading for the next few months until we get past the tax credit periods.

"For the next year, the year-over-year figures will be weird," he said. "November, for example, was a tax credit month, so if we're way down this year it won't be that meaningful because last year's November was artificially high.

"January, for example, we should be way above 2010 because that was the first hangover month from the first round of credits. We've got to work our way through the waves."

The statewide average sale price last month was $156,000, compared with $157,315 in August 2009. The statewide median sale price last month was $142,000, compared with $146,000 for the same period last year.

The national average commitment rate on a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 4.43 percent in August, according to Freddie Mac.