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Home prices moving in the right direction in the Empire State

In New York, sales volume down but median house price up from last year.

In New York, sales volume down but median house price up from last year.

With fewer people relocating this spring than last, year-over-year home sales are down across the country, and New York state is no exception. Home sales volume declined between May 2010 and May 2011, but the median sales price went up during the same period, according to the New York State Association of Realtors.

The 5,565 units sold last month represents a decline of 18.2 percent from 6,800 in May 2010. But because last year's spring home sales were boosted by a temporary homebuyer tax credit, the decrease in New York sales follows a nationwide trend. More encouragingly, last month's New York sales were up 12 percent from April.

Median sales price also broke the $200,000 mark, rising from $199,000 in April to $211,900 in May. This new median price is 13.6 percent greater than the $186,500 median price in May 2010.

Rising prices should hearten homeowners who are upside-down on their mortgage. New Yorkers with underwater mortgages are in the hole an average of $129,000, the highest amount in the country, CoreLogic reported earlier this month.