US Median Home Price Up

RealtyTrac reports that the national median sale price of homes in the U.S. rose again August, making it the 17th consecutive month of increases. Analysts say the price …

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RealtyTrac reports that the national median sale price of homes in the U.S. rose again August, making it the 17th consecutive month of increases. Analysts say the price moved up 3% from the previous month and 6% on the year, although it remains 26% below the peak seen prior to the housing crisis in 2006. The report indicates that cash buyers and investors continue to drive the market recovery, and the combination of improved prices and eager buyers is encouraging banks to release more shadow inventory onto the market. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire

The national median sales price for residential real estate in the United States in August was $175,000, up 3% from the previous month and up 6% from a year ago, the latest index shows.

It is the 17th consecutive month where median home prices have increased annually nationwide, according to the figures from RealtyTrac, the housing data specialists.

The August report also shows that the median price of a distressed residential property, foreclosed or bank owned, was $116,000, up 1% from the previous month, but down 3% from a year ago. Median distressed prices have now declined on an annual basis for six consecutive months including August.

Properties, including single family homes and condominiums and town homes, sold at an estimated annualized pace of 5.6 million in August, up 2 percent from the 5.5 million pace in July and up 12 percent from the 5.0 million pace in August 2012.

‘Seven years after the housing bubble burst, US home prices are clearly on the rise again, up 23% from the bottom in March 2012 although still 26% below the peak of the housing price bubble in August 2006,’ said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

‘This recovery in home prices and sale volume continues to be driven in large part by cash buyers and institutional investors, as evidenced by the increasing share of sales represented by those two categories in August,’ he added.

All cash purchases represented 455 of all residential sales in August, up from 39% in July and 30% in August 2012. Among metro areas with a population of one million or more, those with the highest percentage of all cash sales were Miami at 69%, Detroit at 68%, Las Vegas at 66%, Jacksonville in Florida at 65% and Tampa in Florida at 64%.

Institutional investors, purchasing 10 or more properties in the last 12 months, accounted for 10% of all sales in August, up from 9% in July and 9% in August 2012.

Among metro areas with a population of one million or more, those with the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases were Memphis at 31%, Jacksonville at 29%, Atlanta at 22%, St. Louis at 17% and Detroit at 17%.

Short sales accounted for % of all US residential sales in August, up from 14% in July and 8% in August 2012. States with the biggest percentage of short sales were Nevada at 34%, Florida at 29%, Ohio at 23%, Maryland at 21%, at 20% and Michigan at 20%.

Sales of bank owned homes accounted for 10% of all US residential sales in August, up from 9% in July and 9% in August 2012.

States with the biggest percentage of REO were Nevada at 22%, Ohio and Arizona at 17%, Michigan at 16%, Illinois at 14% and California at 14%.

Sales volume increased from the previous month in 39 out of the 42 states tracked in the report and was up from a year ago in 37 states, including Texas up %, Illinois up 29%, Pennsylvania up 28%, Virginia up 26% and Florida up 22%. Notable exceptions where sales volume decreased from a year ago included California which was down 17%, Arizona down 12% and Nevada down 6%.

States with biggest annual increases in median prices include California up 32%, Nevada up 26%, Georgia up 21%, Arizona up 20% and New York up 19%.

Among metro areas with a population of one million or more, those with the biggest annual increases in median prices included San Francisco and Sacramento both up 35%, Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California and Arizona both up 28%, Los Angeles and Las Vegas both up 26%, and Phoenix up 25%.

 ‘The increase in short sales in August in the mid-Tennessee market is due to the banks’ lengthy short sale approval process. We should see this level out in the coming months,’ said Bob Parks, CEO of Bob Parks Realty.

‘The continuous rise in interest rates has had an effect on the housing market with refinancing slowing as it typically does when rates go up. However, we are experiencing a great period of growth and stability in Tennessee,’ he added.

The Northern Utah area is experiencing a much healthier housing market overall, but the levels of demand and the amount of available inventory continue to be out of balance, according to Steve Roney, chief executive officer of Prudential Utah Real Estate covering the Salt Lake City and Park City markets.

‘This is encouraging banks to accelerate their disposal of distressed inventory, which explains the increase of bank owned home sales in our market,’ he explained.

The Tulsa metro area has picked up as evidence by the increasing amount of open house traffic, while the Oklahoma City market has slowed, said Sheldon Detrick, chief executive officer of Prudential Detrick/Prudential Alliance Realty covering the Tulsa and Oklahoma City markets.

‘The Oklahoma housing market experienced a large surge of demand from buyers during the past nine months, and now the market is leveling out and entering back into a more normal and sustainable pattern,’ he added.

The rise in cash sales in the San Francisco market is due to the overall health of the Northern California economy, ‘Investors and home buyers are making cash purchases to be competitive in the buying process and to circumvent the hassles and extra costs of financing,’ said Gretchen Pearson, president of Prudential California Realty.

‘We are seeing a normalizing of the market as home price appreciation continues to increase,’ she added.

The Portland metro area is experiencing uncharacteristically high bank owned home sales and short sales due to state laws that affected the foreclosure process. ‘The laws slowed lenders from foreclosing on homes and now those legal challenges have been worked through, so even though the Portland housing market is healing and returning to normal, we are experiencing this rise in foreclosures again,’ said Brian Allen, president and owner of the Windermere Cronin and Caplan Realty Group.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.

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