Existing Home Prices Increase
According to the latest quarterly report just released by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), which reflects data from the fourth quarter of 2012; national median prices for existing-homes had the strongest year-over-year gain in seven years.
NAR data shows that the national median price for existing single-family homes during the last quarter of 2012 was $178,900; this is an increase of 10.0 percent over the fourth quarter of 2011 when prices were $162,600. The 10.0 percent gain is the strongest price increase since the fourth quarter of 2005 when the median price surged by 13.6 percent. The fourth quarter increase was also a 1.2 percent rise above the preceding third quarter when prices rose by 8.8 percent.
The NAR explains that the “median price is where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions.”
The national median price gain for individual existing-homes is also reflected in the fact that most of the overall number of metropolitan housing markets also saw price increases as well. The median existing single-family home price rose in 133 out of 152 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). This data is based on closings in the fourth quarter and is compared to the same period one year earlier when only 29 metro areas saw prices increase.
The fourth quarter metro gain was also an increase over third quarter 2012 figures when 120 metro areas saw increases. Only 19 metro areas had price declines in the fourth quarter 2012.
One of the contributing factors to the price gains is a shrinking market share of lower priced homes says the NAR. In addition, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist states that, “all the conditions for strong price growth are at play…home sales are on a sustained uptrend, mortgage interest rates are hovering near record lows and unsold inventory is at the lowest level in 12 years…[and] home sales are being fueled by a pent-up demand.”