WASHINGTON (5/14/14)--Although year-over-year home price growth continued in most U.S. metropolitan areas in the first quarter, increases were measurably smaller, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The median existing single-family home price increased in 74% markets measured by NAR, with 125 of 170 metropolitan areas showing gains based on closings in the first quarter compared with the first quarter of 2013. Thirty-seven areas, or 22%, had double-digit increases, and 45 areas recorded lower median prices.
The national median existing single-family home price was $191,600 in the first quarter, up 8.6% from $176,400 in the first quarter of 2013. In the fourth quarter the median price rose 10.1% from a year earlier.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the price trend is favorable. "The cooling rate of price growth is needed to preserve favorable housing affordability conditions in the future, but we still need more new-home construction to fully alleviate the inventory shortages in much of the country," he said. "Limited inventory is creating unsustainable and unhealthy price growth in some large markets, notably on the West Coast."
The top five most expensive markets were San Jose, Calif. ($808,000); San Francisco ($679,800); Honolulu ($672,300); Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif. ($669,800) and San Diego ($483,000).
The least expensive were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio ($64,600); Decatur, Ill. ($69,600); Toledo, Ohio ($72,100); Rockford, Ill. ($73,100) and Cumberland, Md. ($81,400).
In the fourth quarter of 2013, 73% of metro areas experience price increases from a year earlier, but 89% of markets were showing year-over-year gains in the first quarter of 2013.