Median Home Prices Dip in 3 Out of 4 Markets

Home prices

Median home prices fell in nearly three out of four metro areas, according to a housing report released Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors found in a quarterly report that the median home price for existing, single-family homes fell in 109 out of 151 markets, compared to the same period last year. Only 41 markets showed price gains and one remained unchanged.

The national median price for existing single-family homes was $171,900 this quarter, down 2.8 percent from $176,800 in the year-ago period. Despite the affordable conditions in several markets, however, existing home sales (which include condos and co-ops), was down 12.7 percent from the same period last year.

The news comes just a week after the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgageslid to an all-time low of 3.54 percent, and 30-year mortgages dropped to a year-low rate of 4.39 percent. The reality for many prospective buyers, though, said NAR President Ron Phipps, is that obtaining a mortgage in today's lending environment remains difficult.

"It's frustrating for many creditworthy potential homebuyers to realize that when they're ready to make a move, banks remain risk averse," Phipps said in a press release.

Dwindling numbers of first-time homebuyers this quarter seem to support the claim. First-timers purchased 35 percent of homes this quarter, down from 46 percent in the same period last year. All-cash purchases, though, are on the rise, comprising 30 percent of the sales this quarter, up from 25 percent in that period a year ago.

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