By: The Record

Despite signs of life in the housing market, home values in the New York metropolitan area, including North Jersey, dropped 2.8 percent in May, compared with a year earlier, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller report said Tuesday.

Nationally, prices dropped 0.7 percent, Case-Shiller reported. Home prices in the nation have dropped about 33 percent from their peaks in mid-2006, and are back to the levels of spring 2003. In the region, home prices are down about 26 percent from their peaks in mid-2006 and have returned to the levels of November 2003.

WHAT IT MEANS: The housing market is still correcting its surge to unsustainable prices in the middle of the last decade. High unemployment and tighter credit standards have shut out a lot of potential buyers, lowering demand for real estate. And an increased level of foreclosures means there are many distressed properties on the market, which tend to sell for lower prices.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY: In Bergen County, the median price of a single-family home was $410,000 in May, down 5.75 percent from May 2011, according to the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service. The number of sales jumped almost 24 percent in the month compared with a year earlier.


“The housing market seems to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in a wait-and-see mode for the next few months.”

— David Blitzer,

head of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s

“The most likely scenario is that home prices will zigzag over the coming months, rising during the selling season, and slipping in the fall. Overall, IHS Global Insight expects home prices to cautiously start moving up in 2013.”

— Michelle Valverde, economist, IHS Global Insight

“Given the negative pressures from foreclosures and other distress sales, prices are approaching — but have not yet reached — the bottom.”

— Patrick O’Keefe, economist, J.H. Cohn

— Kathleen Lynn