Home Sales Rebounding

February 12, 2011

RISMEDIA, February 11, 2011—Home sales rebounded in 49 states during the fourth quarter of 2010 with 78 markets—just over half of the available metropolitan areas—experiencing price gains from a year ago, while most of the rest saw price weakness, according to the latest survey by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, jumped 15.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.80 million in the fourth quarter from 4.16 million in the third quarter, but were 19.5% below a surge to an unsustainable cyclical peak of 5.97 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, which was driven by the initial deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit.

In the fourth quarter, the median existing single-family home price rose in 78 out of 152 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from the fourth quarter of 2009, including 10 with double-digit increases; three were unchanged and 71 areas had price declines. In the fourth quarter of 2009, a total of 67 MSAs experienced annual price gains.

The national median existing single-family price was $170,600 in the fourth quarter, up 0.2% from $170,300 in the fourth quarter of 2009. The median is where half sold for more and half sold for less. Distressed homes, typically sold at discount of 10-15%, accounted for 34% of fourth quarter sales, little changed from 32% a year earlier.