Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2010
Strong gains in existing-home sales were the predominant pattern in most states during the fourth quarter of 2009, with many more metro areas seeing prices rise from a year earlier, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Realtors ® .
Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, jumped 13.9 percent, 27.2 percent above the fourth quarter of 2008. Distressed property accounted for 32 percent of fourth quarter transactions, down from 37 percent a year earlier.
Again, most credit the the first-time home buyer tax credit as still being the dominant factor combined with record low mortgage interest rates. Inventory levels continue trending down over the past 18 months. Some expect more balanced housing market conditions in much of the country by late spring with more areas showing higher prices. But most agree harder hit arewas like FL, NV, AZ and CA will lag.
The national median existing single-family price was $172,900, which is 4.1 percent below the fourth quarter of 2008, the smallest price decline in over two years.
In the condo sector, the national median existing-condo price was $177,300 in the fourth quarter, down 4.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008. Eleven metros showed increases in the median condo price from a year earlier and 43 areas had declines; in the third quarter only four metros experienced annual price gains.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 11.1 percent in the fourth quarter, 33.6 percent higher than a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast declined 5.6 percent to $234,900 in the fourth quarter from the same quarter in 2008.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 14.5 percent in the fourth quarter to a pace of 1.38 million and are 29.9 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest rose 1.1 percent to $141,100 in the fourth quarter from the same period in 2008, with the region accounting for the majority of metro areas experiencing double-digit gains.
In the South, existing-home sales rose 13.8 percent in the fourth quarter to an annual rate of 2.23 million and are 28.2 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2008. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $153,000 in the fourth quarter, down 2.4 percent from a year earlier.
Existing-home sales in the West jumped 16.2 percent in the fourth quarter to an annual rate of 1.38 million and are 18.2 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West was $227,200 in the fourth quarter, which is 8.9 percent below the fourth quarter of 2008, but with many areas showing notable gains.