Home sales down 5% in Fayette

Fayette County is the hole in the doughnut, the odd man out, the dandelion in a bouquet of roses.

Home sales were down 5 percent in Fayette in September, the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors said Monday.

Just three days earlier, the association said sales of single-family houses in its 14-county service area, which includes Fayette, were up 1 percent in September, compared with the same month in 2007.

Increased sales in the other counties offset the decline in Fayette, the most populous county in Central Kentucky.

Why is Fayette the raisin in a bag of grapes?

"We are really not sure; we are going to do some research," said Judy Craft, president of the Realtors' association, which is known as LBAR.

LBAR represents more than 2,300 Realtors in Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Montgomery, Scott and Woodford counties. Anderson and Jessamine counties reported double-digit percentage increases in September, Craft said.

"We are checking with some of our contacts in the different counties to see if there was something in particular that would have sparked some sales, like maybe a business moving in," she said.

The 5 percent decline in Fayette, which typically accounts for half the houses, townhouses and condominiums sold in the 14-county area, is "negligible," Craft said. "That's just a fluctuation in the market," caused by comparing 2007, a record sales year, with 2008, which has been slower because of a weaker economy.

LBAR said the 5 percent dip in September contributed to a 16 percent decline in Fayette for the first nine months of 2008, compared with the same months last year.

Sales may have been down in September, but prices were not. LBAR said the median sales price — half of all sales were for more and half for less — in Fayette rose 1 percent to $162,000 last month, compared with September 2007.

Nationwide, the median price dropped 9 percent in September, according to the National Association of Realtors.

LBAR also said the houses its members sold in September were on the market for an average of 69 days, the same as in September 2007.