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Median sales prices in the United States increased by 4% month on month in April and 11% year on year, the biggest annual rise since the market bottomed in March 2012, according to the latest published data.

The figures from RealtyTrac, a leading housing data firm, also show that properties sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,213,793 in April, a decrease of less than 1% from March and an increase of 4% from April 2013.

The median sales price of all residential properties was $172,000 in April and median prices surpassed pre-recession levels in 19% of major counties across the nation.

‘April home sales numbers are exhibiting the continued effects of low supply and still strong demand that exist in many markets across the country,’ said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
 
‘Annualized sales volume nationwide decreased on a monthly basis for the sixth consecutive month and the 4% annual increase in April was the lowest year on year increase so far this year. Meanwhile median home prices nationwide increased to the highest level since December 2008,’ he added.

He pointed out that median home prices have now increased 21% since hitting bottom in March 2012, although they are still 28% below their pre-recession peak of $237,537 in August 2006.

‘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,’ added Blomquist.

The data shows that home price appreciation continues to cool in some of last year’s hottest markets. For example, in Phoenix, median sales prices for residential property increased 9% annually, down from a 30% annual price appreciation in April 2013 and the lowest annual price appreciation for the city since March 2012.

Denver median prices increased 6% annually in April, down from 16% a year ago and the lowest annual price appreciation since April 2012. While in Jacksonville, Florida, median prices increased 4% annually in April, down from 17% annual price appreciation a year ago and the fourth consecutive month with single digit annual price appreciation.

In Tampa, Florida, median prices increased 5% annually in April, down from 19% annual price appreciation a year ago and the second consecutive month with single digit home price appreciation and in Tucson, Arizona, median prices increased 1% annually in April, down from 15% annual price appreciation a year ago and the eighth consecutive month with single digit home price appreciation.

Although home price appreciation showed signs of cooling in several coastal California markets including as Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, inland California markets posted three of the top five annual increases in median prices in April among metropolitan areas with a population of 500,000 or more.

Topping the list was Modesto with a 28% annual increase in median prices, followed by Stockton with a 24% annual increase. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in Southern California posted a 20% annual increase in median home prices, third highest among metros nationwide, and Sacramento also posted a nearly 20% annual increase in home prices, the seventh highest nationwide.

Other cities among the top 10 for annual home price appreciation in April were Detroit up 23%, Miami, Atlanta and Dayton all up 20%, and Akron up 18%. Columbus, Ohio also posted a double digit percentage increase in median prices from a year ago, up 16% and the three Ohio cities all saw accelerating annual home price appreciation compared to a year ago.

Overall distressed sales and short sales dropped to their lowest level year to date in April. Short sales and distressed sales in foreclosure or bank owned 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 at 37.7%, Stockton, California at 33.3%, Modesto, California at 31.7%, Lakeland, Florida at 31.4%, Orlando, Florida at 29.3% and Cleveland at 27.8%.

Short sales nationwide 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. Sales of bank owned (REO) properties nationwide 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.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.