May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Prices for single-family homes rose in about half of U.S. cities in the first quarter as property markets stabilized.
The median price increased from a year earlier in 74 of 146 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report today. In the fourth quarter, only 29 areas had gains.
The U.S. housing market appears to be bottoming as improving employment and record-low mortgage rates boost demand while inventories of available properties tighten. At the end of March, 2.37 million previously owned homes were available for sale, 22 percent fewer than a year earlier, the Realtors said.
“We have broad shortages of lower-priced homes in much of the country, with very tight supply in Western states for homes through the middle price ranges,” Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist, said in the report. “This is good news for many sellers who wish to list now, or for those waiting for prices to improve.”