Strong performance in housing
For the third consecutive quarter, home prices in America have risen on the tailwinds of the strongest quarterly sales pace in a decade which has put downward pressure on perpetually tight inventory levels, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Rising 6.9 percent from the first quarter of 2016, the national median existing single-family home hit $232,100, the fastest growth experienced since the second quarter of 2015. The median price during the fourth quarter of 2016 increased 5.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015. In the first quarter, home prices rose in 85 percent of measured markets.
NAR chief economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun says continual supply shortages ignited faster price appreciation across the country in the first quarter.
“Prospective buyers poured into the market to start the year, and while their increased presence led to a boost in sales, new listings failed to keep up and hovered around record lows all quarter,” said Dr. Yun.
“Those able to successfully buy most likely had to outbid others – especially for those in the starter-home market – which in turn quickened price growth to the fastest quarterly pace in almost two years,” Dr. Yun added.
He also noted that many metros have increased demands as employment levels rebound, but new home construction isn’t up, particularly in the South and West, leading to “unhealthy price appreciation that far exceeds incomes.”
Regional performances varied
NAR reports that total existing-home sales in the Northeast declined 2.2 percent in the first quarter but are 4.2 percent above the first quarter of 2016. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $255,000 in the first quarter, up 2.2 percent from a year ago.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales dipped 4.3 percent in the first quarter but are 1.6 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 5.7 percent to $176,600 in the first quarter from the same quarter a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South jumped 5.8 percent in the first quarter and are 5.8 percent higher than the first quarter of 2016. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $209,000 in the first quarter, 8.8 percent above a year earlier.
In the West, existing-home sales rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter and are 7.4 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 8.4 percent to $342,500 in the first quarter from the first quarter of 2016.