NAR: U.S. home prices up 4% in 2018’s 4Q

Home Prices Up 4%

WASHINGTON – Feb. 12, 2019 – Inventory increased and metro market prices rose at a slower pace in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The national median existing single-family home price in the quarter was $257,600, up 4.0 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017 ($247,800).

Single-family home prices increased in 92 percent of measured markets last quarter, with 163 out of 178 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) showing sales price gains in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago. Fourteen metro areas (8 percent) experienced double-digit increases, down from 18 in the third quarter.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the fourth quarter close was promising.

“Home prices continued to rise in the vast majority of markets. With inventory steadily increasing, home prices are, on average, rising at a slower and healthier pace,” he says.

Total existing-home sales, including single family homes and condos, decreased 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.180 million in the fourth quarter, a decline from 5.273 million in the third quarter, and 7.4 percent lower than the 5.593 million-pace during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Yun said the West Coast needs more homes built. “The West region, where home prices have nearly doubled in six years, is undergoing the biggest shift with the slowest price gain and large buyer pullback.”

At the end of the fourth quarter, there were 1.55 million existing homes available for sale – 6.2 percent above the 1.46 million homes for sale at the end of the fourth quarter in 2017. The average supply during the fourth quarter was 4.0 months – up from 3.5 months in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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