Home Prices, Sales Show Strong Gains

By Peter King,

Shutterstock photo

Existing home sales and home prices showed strong annual gains in April, with both posting 10 percent increases over their April 2011 levels, according to figures released today by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

It was the second consecutive monthly gain for home sales, with broad-based increases across all regions of the country, leading NAR officials to declare that a housing recovery is underway.

"It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions," said Lawrene Yun, NAR chief economist. "A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across all price points, and now the recovery appears to be extending to home prices."

Prices show consecutively monthly gains

Existing home sales in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million, a 3.4 percent increase from March and up 10.0 percent from the 4.20 million level reported for April 2011.

Home sales prices in April were at a median of $177,400, up 10.1 percent from the $161,100 figure of 12 months before. It was the second consecutively monthly gain for home sales, the first time that's happened since June-July 2010.

Yun said prices were boosted by a diminished share of foreclosure sales, as well as shortages of available properties for sale in selected markets, such as the Washington, D.C. region. For the year, the NAR is projecting home price increases of 1-2 percent, with stronger gains in 2013.

Distressed sales down markedly

Sales of distressed properties - both foreclosures and short sales - accounted for 28 percent of all home sales in April, down from 37 percent in April 2011. Foreclosures sold at an estimated 21 percent discount compared to regular sales last month, while the discount on short sales averaged 14 percent.

Around the nation, the biggest annual gains in home sales were in the Northeast and Midwest, where sales were up 19.2 percent and 14.4 percent compared to April 2011, respectively. The West and South showed annual gains of 7.3 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.

The biggest annual price gains were seen in the West, where April's median sales price of 221,700 represented a 15.9 percent increase over 12 months before. Median sales prices in the Northeast showed an 8.8 percent annual gain, to $256,600; prices in the South were up 8.0 percent, to $153,400; and home sales prices in the Midwest were up 7.4 percent from their April 2011 level, to a median of $141,400.

First published at: http://www.mortgageloan.com/home-prices-sales-show-strong-gains-9078

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance Real Estate
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