The median existing single-family home price rose in only 39 out of 150 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the third quarter from a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports. That is down from the 41 MSAs that recorded annual price gains in the second quarter.
Although total state existing-home sales fell 0.1% from the second quarter to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in the third quarter, sales were 17% higher than the 4.17 million pace recorded the same time last year.
‘Home sales need to recover first – only then can prices stabilize," says Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Existing-home sales are little changed from the second quarter but are notably higher than a year ago. The good news is inventory levels have been trending gradually down.’
The national median existing single-family home price was $169,500 in the third quarter – down 4.7% from $177,800 in the third quarter of 2010. Distressed homes, which typically sold at a discount of about 20%, accounted for 30% of third-quarter sales – down from both the 33% share the previous quarter and the 34% share a year earlier.
NAR's Housing Affordability Index hit 183.8 in the third quarter – the index's second-highest rating in history, after the first quarter of this year. The index, which dates back to 1970, measures the relationship between median home price, median family income and mortgage interest rates.