May 4, 2009 | last updated May 26, 2012 7:26 am

CT house prices continue to fall

Single-family house prices in Connecticut dropped nearly 18 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to Boston real estate publisher The Warren Group.

The drop was the steepest drop in decline prices for any quarter since The Warren Group began tracking the state's prices in 1987.

The median sale price for single-family homes in the first three months of this year fell to $220,000 from $267,000 in the year-ago period, The Warren Group report said. The March median home price was $220,000, 18.1 percent lower than the $268,500 median price recorded in March 2008. Monthly median home prices have been falling by double-digit percentages year-over-year for six consecutive months.

Median home prices in Hartford Country fell 11.5 percent during the quarter to $200,000 from $226,000 in 2008.

"Like Massachusetts, Connecticut's housing market really struggled in the first three months of the year. The last quarter was the worst first quarter in terms of median home price declines and unit sales," said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. "There is some hope that incentives like the first-time homebuyer tax credit and low mortgage interest rates can help boost sales, but even those types of perks won't bring a dramatic turnaround in sales if people are struggling with job loss and salary cuts."

Sales of single-family homes for the first quarter and for March fell more than 20 percent from a year ago. Home sales from January through March fell 27.7 percent to 3,568 from 4,932 a year earlier. It was the slowest sales pace for a first quarter since The Warren Group began tracking Connecticut home sales in 1987. A total of 1,492 homes were sold in March, down 21.1 percent from 1,891 in March 2008.

Fairfield and Litchfield counties had the most dramatic drop in sales and median home prices during the beginning of the year, helping to drag down the overall housing market in Connecticut.

Connecticut's condominium sales during the first quarter also fell to the lowest level for a first quarter in at least 22 years.

Condo sales plunged 39.5 percent to 1,103 from 1,823 in the first quarter of 2008. In March, 432 condos sold, a 37.2 percent drop from 688 in March 2008. Monthly condo sales have fallen by 20 percent or more year-over-year for the last 15 months.

But median condo prices haven't retreated as much as single-family home prices. The first quarter median condo price fell 6.3 percent to $178,000 from $190,000. The median price for condos sold in March was off 5 percent, declining from $189,825 to $180,250.

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