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  • Stephanie Nickell

Home prices are showing signs of life

Median home prices increased 14.4% in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter, according to the National Association of Realtors. And, the median existing single-family home price rose in 110 out of 147 metropolitan statistical areas.
     In the United States, the median existing single-family home price was $181,500 for the second quarter of this year. The Northeast had the highest median home price this quarter, with $241,300; the West had the second highest median price with $234,000.
     Home prices rose in all four geographic regions in the second quarter, with the highest increase in the Midwest where home prices rose 19.6%. The West saw the second largest increase with 17.5%; in the South the increase from the previous quarter was 13.8%.
     There were four metro areas that saw boosts over 20% in home prices from the same time a year ago: Detroit, 29.2%; Phoenix, 29.0%; Boise, Idaho, 21.7%; and Florence, S.C., 20.5%.
     "It's most encouraging to see a growing number of metro areas with rising median prices, which is improving the equity position of existing homeowners. Inventory is trending down and home builders are still under-producing in relation to growing demand," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
     Yun says that some of the improvement in home prices can be attributed to fewer sales in the low price ranges, where inventory is lower.
     Existing single-family home sales were down in June compared with the prior month for all four geographic regions. However, compared with June 2011 home sales are up in all regions with the exception of the West, which saw a decrease of 3% from the same time last year.

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