U.S. home prices kept inching up in April, as short sales and foreclosure sales continued to dramatically decline, according to RealtyTrac's monthly Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report.
Single-family homes, including condominiums and townhouses, sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,213,793 in April – a decrease of less than 1% compared to March but an increase of 4% compared to April 2013, according to the report.
The median sales price of U.S. residential properties – including both distressed and non-distressed sales – was $172,000 – an increase of 4% compared to March and an increase of 11% compared to April 2013. This was the biggest year-over-year increase since U.S. median prices bottomed out in March 2012.
‘U.S. median home prices have now increased 21 percent since hitting bottom in March 2012, although they are still 28 percent below their pre-recession peak of $237,537 in August 2006,’ say Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, in a statement. ‘There are a surprising number of markets, however, where median home prices have surpassed their previous peaks since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.’
According to the report, home prices have surpassed pre-recession levels in 19% of major counties. What's more, the median U.S. home price is now at the highest level since December 2008. Blomquist says low inventory is partly what is keeping prices artificially high.
Meanwhile, short sales and foreclosure sales continue to approach pre-recession lows. In combination, they accounted for 15.6% of all sales in April, down from 16.5% of all sales in March, and down from 17.2% of all sales in April 2013. Metro areas with the highest share of combined short sales and distressed sales were Las Vegas (37.7%); Stockton, Calif. (33.3%); Modesto, Calif. (31.7%); Lakeland, Fla. (31.4%); Orlando, Fla. (29.3%); and Cleveland (27.8%).
Short sales alone accounted for 5.2% of all sales in April, down from 5.5% of all sales in March and down from 6.3% of all sales in April 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of short sales in April were Orlando, Fla. (14.8%); Lakeland, Fla. (14.5%); Tampa, Fla. (13.9%); Palm Bay, Fla. (13.2%); and Las Vegas (11.5%).
Foreclosure sales alone accounted for 9.2% of all sales in April, down from 9.7% of all sales in March and down from 10% of all sales in April 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of foreclosure sales in April were Modesto, Calif. (25.7%); Stockton, Calif. (25.6%); Las Vegas (23.0%); Akron, Ohio (22.3%); Dayton, Ohio (20.6%); and the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area in Southern California (19.9%).
Sales at public foreclosure auctions accounted for 1.2% of all sales nationwide in April, down from 1.3% of all sales in March, but still up from 0.8% of all sales in April 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of foreclosure auction sales in April included Lakeland, Fla. (5%); Orlando, Fla. (4.9%); Atlanta (3.6%); Miami (3.5%); Las Vegas (3.2%); and Jacksonville, Fla. (3.2%).
To read the full report, click here.