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Latest LI housing numbers show decline

Numbers on home sales contracts can foreshadow the health of the housing market, and Long Island’s latest figures show a continuing decline.

There were 1,643 contracts signed last month, a 3.9 percent drop from the 1,710 the same time last year, reported the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, which also covers Queens. These pending sales often lead to closings a few months later.

January was the ninth straight month of year-ago declines in contracts for Nassau and Suffolk, due in large part to the expiration of the federal home buyer's tax credit. The trend started in May, right after the April 30 deadline for buyers to sign home sale contracts if they wanted to claim up to $8,000 in tax credits.

Also, the median contract price was $340,000 last month, a 1.5 percent drop from the $345,000 a year ago, the report said.

Year-ago changes show Nassau's median contract price has been going up and down over the months. It was $382,000 last month, an 8 percent drop from a year earlier, figures show. But in November, for example, there was a 3.1 percent increase compared to November 2009, the report said.

Suffolk's median contract price was $300,000, a 1.6 percent drop from a year ago. It was the fifth month in a row of declines from a year earlier, according to the data.

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