Inventory increased and home prices continued to rise during the first quarter, according to the latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The average U.S. home price in the first quarter was $254,800, up 3.9% from $245,300 in the first quarter of 2018.
“Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, in a statement. “A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year.”
Total existing-home sales, including single family homes and condos, increased 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.207 million in the first quarter, up from 5.143 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.
That’s a decrease of 5.4% compared with a rate of 5.507 million in the first quarter of 2018.
NAR’s data show that inventory increased in the first quarter. As of the end of the quarter, 1.68 million existing homes were available for sale, an increase of 2.4% compared with the first quarter of 2018.
National family median income increased to $77,7524, yet higher home prices caused overall affordability to decrease compared with a year earlier.
To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5% down payment would need an income of $60,143, according to NAR.
A 10% down payment would require an income of $56,978 while a 20% down payment would require an income of $50,647.
The five most expensive housing markets, as of the end of the first quarter, were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif (avg. $1.220 million); San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. ($930,000); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. ($800,000); Urban Honolulu, Hawaii ($794,100); and San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., ($620,000).
“There are vast home price differences among metro markets,” Yun says. “The condition of extremely high home prices may not be sustainable in light of many alternative metro markets that are much more affordable. Therefore, a shift in job search and residential relocations into more affordable regions of the country is likely in the future.”