NAR: Metro home prices up 3.9% in 1Q 2019
WASHINGTON – May 14, 2019 – Inventory increased and metro market prices rose in the first quarter of 2019, but at a slower pace than the previous quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The national median existing single-family home price in the first quarter was $254,800, up 3.9 percent from the first quarter of 2018 ($245,300).
Single-family home prices increased in 86 percent of measured markets last quarter, with 153 of 178 metropolitan statistical areas showing sales price gains year-to-year. Thirteen metro areas (7 percent) experienced double-digit increases, down from 14 in 2018's fourth quarter.
"Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year."
Total existing-home sales – including single family homes and condos – increased 1.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.207 million in the first quarter, up from 5.143 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Year-to-year, they're 5.4 percent lower than the 5.507 million-pace in the first quarter of 2018.
At the end of 2019's first quarter, 1.68 million existing homes were available for sale – 2.4 percent up from the 1.64 figure at the end of 2018's first quarter. Average supply during the first quarter of 2019 was 3.8 months – up from 3.5 months in the first quarter of 2018.
National family median income rose to $77,752 in the first quarter, while higher home prices caused overall affordability to decrease year-to-year. A buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $60,143 to purchase a single-family home at the national median price. Ten percent down payment would require an income of $56,978; $50,647 would be necessary for a 20 percent down payment.
"There are vast home price differences among metro markets," Yun says. "The condition of extremely high home prices may not be sustainable in light of many alternative metro markets that are much more affordable. Therefore, a shift in job search and residential relocations into more affordable regions of the country is likely in the future."
Yun continues to call on the construction industry to develop more affordable housing units, which he says will combat slower price gains and buyer pullback.
"More supply is needed to provide better homeownership opportunities, taming home price growth and widening the inventory choices for consumers. Housing Opportunity Zones could provide the necessary financial benefits for homebuilders to construct moderately priced-homes," Yun says.
Total existing-home sales in the Northeast sat at an annual rate of 683,000 (down 1.4 percent from last quarter) and are down 1.0 percent from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $277,200 in the first quarter, up 3.7 percent from a year ago.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales fell 4.0 percent in the first quarter and are 5.5 percent below a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest sat at $194,100, a 3.9 percent increase from the first quarter of 2018.
Existing-home sales in the South increased 4.3 percent in the first quarter but were 4.0 percent lower than the first quarter of 2018. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $225,700 in the fourth quarter, 2.5 percent above a year ago.
In the West, existing-home sales in the first quarter grew by 2.8 percent and are 10.7 percent below a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 3.5 percent year-over-year to $384,300.
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