This morning the National Association of REALTORS released a report showing the median sales price of homes for metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. in the third quarter as well as a report showing total home sales by state for the quarter. The reports showed mixed results, with metro median home prices in the U.S. declining by 4.7 percent from a year ago and total home sales in the U.S. increasing 17.0 percent from a year ago.
- The median existing single-family home price rose in 39 out of 150 metro areas in the third quarter from a year earlier; 111 metro areas showed price declines.
- Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, slipped 0.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.880 million in the third quarter from 4.883 million in the second quarter, but were 17.0 percent higher than the 4.170 million pace during the third quarter of 2010. Every state and the District of Columbia saw sales rise from a year ago, with 45 states posting double-digit gains.
- The national median existing single-family home price was $169,500 in the third quarter, down 4.7 percent from $177,800 in the third quarter of 2010.
- Distressed homes, typically sold at a discount of about 20 percent, accounted for 30 percent of third quarter sales, compared with 33 percent in the second quarter; they were 34 percent a year earlier.
- The share of all-cash home purchases was 29 percent in the third quarter, little changed from 30 percent in the second quarter and 29 percent in the third quarter of 2010. Investors, who make up the bulk of cash purchasers, accounted for 20 percent of transactions in the third quarter; they were 19 percent in the second quarter and 19 percent a year ago.
- First-time buyers purchased 32 percent of homes, down from 35 percent in the second quarter and 34 percent in the third quarter of 2010. Historically, entry-level buyers account for four out of 10 home purchases.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is holding fairly even. “Home sales need to recover first — only then can prices stabilize. Existing-home sales are little changed from the second quarter but are notably higher than a year ago,” he said. “The good news is inventory levels have been trending gradually down.”