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A Tale of Two Coasts for Housing Prices

pending home sales

According to a new report by Redfin [1], U.S. home-sale prices reported a marginal decline of 0.1% in March to an average of $295,100, which marked the first year-over-year decrease since 2012. The average home sale price in 2012 was $171,600.

The report shows that nine of the 85 largest metros that Redfin tracks saw an annual decline in their median price, including a 13% decline in San Jose, California, and a 1%-decrease in San Francisco, California. On the whole, West Coasts markets [2] posted double-digit annual declines in a number of home-price sales, and California was home to seven of the 10 markets with the biggest declines.

Los Angeles, California, had the second-largest decline of home sale prices at 19.4%. Orange County (16.4%), Fresno (16%), Oxnard (15.6%), Riverside (14.3%), San Jose (14.3%), and San Francisco (13.7%) also saw large declines. Declines in Salt Lake City, Utah (21%); Las Vegas, Nevada (18.8%); and Seattle, Washington (15%) were also among the worst in the nation.

”Homebuyers have backed off in West Coast metros where home prices have risen far out of their budgets,” said Daryl Fairweather, Chief Economist at Redfin. “The opposite is happening in more affordable metros where buyers are eager to buy now to take advantage of low mortgage rates. In California, where the tax burden is high, some people are finding they have to move out of state to afford to buy a home. As a result, home sales are down in metros throughout the state.”

East Coast markets saw big gains, with some areas posting increases of more than 30%. Markets that saw the largest increases were Camden, New Jersey (56.2%), and Baltimore, Maryland (34.5%).

Allentown, Pennsylvania (24.9%); Newark, New Jersey (22.7%); Memphis, Tennessee (20.2%); Tampa, Florida (19.3%); Warren, Michigan (18.7%); New York, New York (18.2%); and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (16.7%) also posted increases.

The metro areas that saw the biggest decline in home sales were more than 2.5 times as expensive as the metro areas where sales surged, according to Redfin. The cheapest of the 10 metro areas where sales declined (Fresno, California at $275,000) was still more expensive than eight of the top 10 metros where sales surged.