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Home prices rose in 81% of US metro areas in fourth quarter

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 23:46
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Home prices rose in 81 per cent of US metropolitan areas in the fourth quarter, even as the pace of sales slowed from earlier in the year, the National Association of Realtors said.

[WASHINGTON] Home prices rose in 81 per cent of US metropolitan areas in the fourth quarter, even as the pace of sales slowed from earlier in the year, the National Association of Realtors said.

The median price of an existing single-family home increased from a year earlier in 145 of the 179 areas measured, the group said in a report Wednesday. In the third quarter, 87 per cent of metropolitan areas had price increases. Thirty areas had gains of 10 per cent or more in the fourth quarter, up from 20 regions in the previous three months and 22 a year earlier.

Price gains across the nation are being bolstered by strengthening employment, low borrowing costs and buyer competition for a limited supply of available properties. There were 1.79 million previously owned homes for sale in December, down 3.8 per cent from a year earlier, the Realtors group said last month. At the current pace of deals, it would take 3.9 months to sell those houses, the lowest since January 2005.

"Even with slightly cooling demand, the unshakable trend of inadequate supply in relation to the overall pool of prospective buyers inflicted upward pressure on home prices in several metro areas," Lawrence Yun, the group's chief economist, said in a statement. "As a result, homeownership continues to be out of reach for a number of qualified buyers in the top job producing, but costliest, parts of the country -- especially on the West Coast and parts of the South." Prices declined from a year earlier in 19 per cent, or 34, metro areas, according to the report.

The national median single-family home price was US$222,700 in the fourth quarter, up 6.9 per cent from a year earlier, according to the report. In the third quarter, the median price increased up 5.4 per cent from a year earlier.

BLOOMBERG