Median home values trend lower, sales rise

May 15, 2012 | Comments Off on Median home values trend lower, sales rise

Home prices continued to fall in most metro areas over the 12 months that ended in September, even as more houses were sold, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Nationally, the median price of a single-family home fell 4.7 percent in the third quarter of 2011, compared to the third quarter of 2010, the Realtors say. Half of the homes sold in the United States cost more than $169,500 from July through September this year, down 4.7 percent from the median price of $177,800 in the third quarter of 2010.

The Realtors count prices on home resales in 150 metropolitan areas from Abilene, Texas, to Youngstown, Ohio, and from Honolulu to Portland, Maine. Prices went up year-over-year in 39 of those metro areas, and fell in the other 111.

While median home values fell in three-fourths of markets, the number of houses sold was up in all 50 states, says Lawrence Yun, the Realtors’ chief economist. Nationally, the sales pace rose 17 percent in the third quarter, compared to the same period a year earlier. “The good news is inventory levels have been trending gradually down,” Yun says.

Prices fell by double-digit percentages in the 10 coldest housing markets, led by Mobile, Ala.

Top fallers
Mobile, Ala. -17.7 percent
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. -17.6 percent
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J. -17.5 percent
Salt Lake City -15.3 percent
Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss. -12.7 percent
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach -12.7 percent
Rockford, Ill. -12.5 percent
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. -11.6 percent
Tucscon, Ariz. -11.5 percent
Akron, Ohio -11.4 percent

The markets with the fastest-falling prices include some major metropolitan areas, such as Phoenix, Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Virginia Beach, Va. By contrast, the places where prices are rising tend to be smaller metro areas.

Top risers
Grand Rapids, Mich. 23.7 percent
South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind. 19.8 percent
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. 17.7 percent
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. 13.1 percent
Green Bay, Wis. 12.6 percent
Canton-Massillon, Ohio 11.6 percent
Peoria, Ill. 11.1 percent
Binghamton, N.Y. 10.6 percent
Jackson, Miss. 7.6 percent
Spartanburg, S.C. 7.4 percent

Yun says about 30 percent of home sales in the third quarter were “distressed” — that is, they were short sales or foreclosures. These homes typically sell at about a 20 percent discount, Yun says.

Housing economists say homes have become more affordable in the past few years, but they say too many would-be buyers can’t take advantage of the improved affordability.



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