House prices increase in 89% of U.S. cities as recovery expands

Prices for single-family homes increased in 89% of U.S. cities in the first quarter as the housing market extends a recovery from a five-year slump.

The median sales price rose from a year earlier in 133 of 150 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report today. A year earlier, 74 areas had gains.

Buyers returning to the housing market are bidding up prices for a tight supply of listings. The national median price for an existing single-family home was $176,600 in the first quarter, up 11.3% from the same period last year. That was the biggest gain since the fourth quarter of 2005, according to the Realtors group.

“Some of the previously hard-hit markets like Phoenix, Sacramento and Miami continue to experience a dramatic turnaround, while a new set of areas like Atlanta, Minneapolis and Seattle have begun to show strong signs of upward momentum,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in the report.

At the end of the first quarter, 1.93 million previously owned homes were available for sale, 16.8% fewer than a year earlier, according to the Realtors group.

The best-performing metro areas were Akron, Ohio, and San Francisco, where prices jumped 33% from a year earlier. Prices rose 32% in Reno, Nevada, and Silicon Valley, California; 31% in Atlanta and 30% in Phoenix.

The Kankakee, Illinois, area had the biggest decline, falling 19% from from a year earlier. Following were Edison, New Jersey, with a 8.6% drop, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, with a 8.3% decrease.

Bloomberg News

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