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.