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Housing Market Heats Up After Signs of a Cooldown

The average price of single-family homes and condos rose 2.9% during Q3 2019 to a new high of $270,000—8.3% higher than a year ago—according to data from ATTOM Data Solutions.  [1]

Homeowners who sold their homes during the quarter earned an average profit that rose to a post-recession high of 34.5%, which is an increase from the prior quarter’s 34.4% and 34.3% in Q3 2018.

ATTOM states that the average homeownership tenure hit a new high of 8.19 years, which is an increase of 3% from the prior quarter and a 3% rise from Q3 2018. The homeownership tenure averaged 4.20 years nationally between Q1 2000 and Q3 2007. 

“The seven-year U.S. housing boom is back in high gear. After a series of relatively small price increase quarters, home prices saw quite the uptick, seller profits rose and the problem of distressed sales continued to fade, helping to make the third quarter the strongest in four years,” said Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “That all happened as mortgage rates sank back to near-historic lows, which clearly powered the market upward along with stock market surges and a continued strong economy. 

“There had been signs before the latest surge of a cooling market, but they seem to have diminished, at least for now.”

Average-home prices rose annually in 148 of the 155 metro areas studied by ATTOM during Q3 2019. Lansing, Michigan, saw the highest increase at 25.1%, followed by Green Bay, Wisconsin, (18.1%); Johnson City, Tennessee, (1637%); Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, North Carolina (13.7%); and Spokane, Washington, 13.5%. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, saw the largest price increase for metros with at least 1 million people at 12.3%. Jacksonville, Florida, reported an increase of 10.8%. 

Three major metros reported an annual price drop: Kansas City, Missouri (-9.4%); San Jose, California (-3.3%); and Hartford, Connecticut (-0.3%). 

Additionally, median-home prices in 122 of the 155 metros studied were above pre-recession peaks during Q3 2019. Kennewick, Washington, led the nation with a 99% increase.

The National Association of Realtors reported total existing-home sales [2]fell 2.2% in September from August to an adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million units in September. Despite the decline, overall sales are up 3.9% from September 2018.

“We must continue to beat the drum for more inventory,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Home prices are rising too rapidly because of the housing shortage, and this lack of inventory is preventing home sales growth potential.”