Homeowners continue to see home values increase, along with their equity. Metro home prices nationwide saw an increase of nearly 4% in the first quarter. The national median existing single-family home price was $254,800 in the first quarter, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Tuesday.
Single-family home prices rose in 86% of measured markets in the first quarter; 13 metro areas saw double-digit increases.
“Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth,” says NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year.”
Higher home prices caused affordability to decrease from last year, even though family median incomes rose to $77,752 in the first quarter, NAR reports. A buyer making a 5% down payment would need an income of $60,143 to purchase a single-family home at the national median price; a buyer making a 10% down payment would require an income of $56,978; and a buyer making a 20% down payment would need $50,647.
“There are vast home price differences among metro markets,” Yun says. “The condition of extremely high home prices may not be sustainable in light of many alternative metro markets that are much more affordable. Therefore, a shift in job search and residential relocations into more affordable regions of the country is likely in the future.”
Yun continues to call on the housing industry to add more affordable housing that would help combat price gains and buyer pullback.
“More supply is needed to provide better homeownership opportunities, taming home price growth, and widening the inventory choices for consumers,” Yun says. “Housing Opportunity Zones could provide the necessary financial benefits for homebuilders to construct moderately priced homes.”
Here are some additional key indicators from NAR’s latest housing report:
Home sales: Total existing-home sales, which include single-family homes and condos, rose 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 5.21 million in the first quarter. That is 5.4% lower than a year prior.
Inventories: The number of For Sale signs has been rising, offering buyers more choices than a year ago. At the end of the first quarter, 1.68 million existing homes were available for sale, up by 2.4% from the end of 2018’s first quarter. The average supply during the first quarter of 2019 was at a 3.8-month supply at the current pace.
Here’s how existing-home sales fared in the first quarter across the country:
Northeast: Existing-home sales dropped to an annual rate of 683,000, down by 1% from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $277,200, up 3.7% from a year ago.
Midwest: Existing-home sales dropped 4% in the first quarter and are 5.5% below a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $194,100, a 3.9% increase from a year ago.
South: Existing-home sales rose 4.3% in the first quarter, but were 4% lower than a year ago. The median existing single-family home prices was $225,700, up 2.5% from a year ago.
West: Existing-home sales increased 2.8% and are 10.7% below a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $384,300, up 3.5% year over year.