Metro Home Prices Accelerated in Fourth Quarter of 2015, NAR
Washington, DC, February 10,
2016—A moderating pace of sales had little impact on the trajectory of home
prices during the final three months of the year, which picked up speed and
showed continued growth in most of the U.S., according to the latest quarterly
report by the National Association of Realtors.
The median existing single-family
home price increased in 81% of measured markets, with 145 out of 1791
metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) showing gains based on closings in the
fourth quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2014. Thirty-four areas (19%)
recorded lower median prices from a year earlier.
There were slightly fewer rising
markets in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter, when price gains
were recorded in 87% of metro areas. Thirty metro areas in the fourth quarter
(17%) experienced double-digit increases, a jump from the 20 metro areas in the
third quarter. Twenty-two metro areas (12%) experienced double-digit increases
in the fourth quarter of 2014.
For all of 2015, an average of
89% of measured metro areas saw increasing home prices, up from the averages in
2014 (83%) and 2013 (88%).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief
economist, says faster price growth reawakened in the final months of 2015
despite the pace of sales slowing from earlier in the year. "Even with
slightly cooling demand, the unshakeable trend of inadequate supply in relation
to the overall pool of prospective buyers inflicted upward pressure on home
prices in several metro areas," he said. "As a result, homeownership
continues to be out of reach for a number of qualified buyers in the top job
producing, but costliest, parts of the country – especially on the West Coast
and parts of the South."
The national median existing
single-family home price in the fourth quarter was $222,700, up 6.9% from the
fourth quarter of 2014 ($208,400). The median price during the third quarter of
2015 increased 5.4% from the third quarter of 2014.
Total existing-home sales,
including single family and condo, declined 5.4% to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 5.18 million in the fourth quarter from 5.48 million in the
third quarter, but are 2.4% higher than the 5.06 million pace during the fourth
quarter of 2014.
"Without a significant
ramp-up in new home construction and more homeowners listing their homes for
sale, buyers are likely to see little relief in the form of slowing price
growth in the months ahead," adds Yun.