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Q3 Home Prices Fall While Some State Sales Rise

Existing-home prices sagged in most metropolitan areas over the third quarter, pointing to a soft spot in job security for people across the country as home affordability hovers around record highs.

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A quarterly report by the ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org/ (NAR) revealed that more than two-thirds of all metropolitan areas suffered plunges in home prices from last year. Thirty-one percent of single-family home markets meanwhile saw gains in home prices.

""Home sales need to recover first ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô only then can prices stabilize,"" ""Lawrence Yun"":http://www.realtor.org/research/chief_economist_bio, NAR's chief economist, said in a statement. ""Existing home-sales are little changed from the second quarter but are notably higher than a year ago.""

The NAR found state existing-home sales falling by 0.1 percent to crest at a seasonally adjusted 4.9 million over the third quarter.

The national median for existing single-family home prices fell by 4.7 percent to hit $169,500 over the third quarter. Distressed home sales declined by a few percentage points to land at 30 percent, down from 33 percent from the last quarter and 34 percent from the same time frame last year.

All-cash home purchases stayed at around 29 percent over the third quarter, largely unchanged from the second

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quarter and figures seen during the same time frame last year.

NAR said that cash purchasers sopped up 20 percent of all third-quarter transactions.

First-time buyers bought up 32 percent of homes over the third quarter, a few percentage points less than the 35 percent seen over the second quarter.

In the statement, ""Ron Phipps"":http://www.realtor.org/about_nar/fullbio_phipps, NAR's president, described figures for home sales as those that should be higher in lieu of the housing market's all-time affordability.

""Housing affordability conditions have been at a record high this year, rents are rising and homes are selling for less than the cost of construction in most of the country,"" he said. ""For people with secure jobs, good credit and long-term plans, today's conditions will be remembered as a golden opportunity to enter the housing market.""

Regions across the country varied in terms of their existing-home sales. The Northeast underwent a 0.9-percent uptick over the third quarter, with median existing single-family home prices dipping year-over-year by 6.5 percent for the region.

The Midwest emerged with a slightly healthier spat of sales, as existing-home sales for the region climbed the ladder to 2.5 percent over the third quarter. Median existing single-family home prices for the region fell by 2.2 percent from the year before.

The South bore witness to minimal change for existing-home sales, with median existing single-family home prices falling only 2.2 percent from the year before.

For the West, existing-home sales tumbled by a few percentage points to crest at 2.6 percent over the third quarter, with Yun calling sales figures ""dominated by cash investors in the lower price ranges.""

The figures for existing-home sales and prices follow a series of ongoing troughs for payrolls, with the U.S. economy picking up about 80,000 jobs over October.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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