Home Prices Continue To Rise in First Quarter

Washington, DC, May 13, 2013 -- Metropolitan area median home prices continued to rise in the first quarter, with the national gain showing the best year-over-year performance in over seven years, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. 

A companion breakout of income requirements to purchase a median-priced home on a metro basis shows the typical buyer earns roughly double the income needed to buy a home in his or her area, NAR said.

The median existing single-family home price rose in 133 out of 150 metropolitan statistical areas based on closings in the first quarter of 2013 compared with first quarter last year, while 17 areas had price declines.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, a comparable 133 areas showed price increases from a year earlier, greatly improved from the first quarter of 2012 when prices in only 74 metros were up.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said many areas are experiencing a seller’s market.

“The supply/demand balance is clearly tilted toward sellers in a good portion of the country,” he said.

“Inventory conditions are expected to remain fairly constrained this year, so overall price increases should be well above the historic gain of one-to-two percentage points above the rate of inflation.  If home builders can continue to ramp up production, then home price growth is expected to moderate in 2014.”

At the end of the first quarter there were 1.93 million existing homes available for sale, which is 16.8% below the close of the first quarter of 2012, when 2.32 million homes were on the market.

The national median existing single-family home price was $176,600 in the first quarter, up 11.3% from $158,600 in the first quarter of 2012.

This is the strongest year-over-year price increase since the fourth quarter of 2005 when the median price jumped 13.6%, NAR said.  In the fourth quarter of 2012 the median price rose 10.0% from a year earlier.


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