Median home price is up 13%

Realtor survey finds gains in region remain strong

$175,900 is midpoint in 2Q

August 18, 2002|By Andrew D. Faith | Andrew D. Faith,SUN STAFF

Home-price increases in the Baltimore region continued strong in the second quarter, the National Association of Realtors reports.

The median home price in the region was $175,900, up 13.4 percent from the second quarter last year. In the first quarter this year, the median was $165,000, the Realtors association reports.

The median price in 1999 was $127,400; in 2000, it was $153,000; and 2001, $158,200. In the second quarter of last year, the median was $155,100

The Baltimore region's situation mirrors the national economy.

Home prices in most metropolitan areas rose faster than historic norms during the second quarter, although the annual rate of increase was less than in the first quarter, according to the Realtors survey.

The association's second-quarter home price report, covering changes in 113 of the nation's metropolitan statistical areas, shows 28 with double-digit annual increases in median existing-home prices and 10 areas posting generally small declines.

David A. Lereah, the national association's chief economist, said price patterns are following market demand.

"It's a simple matter of supply and demand, and right now there are still more buyers than sellers in most housing markets," he said. "The fact that housing inventories remain on the lean side means home prices are rising faster than historic norms, but we expect that to improve during the second half of the year as the market comes into a closer balance between buyers and sellers."

The national median existing-home price was $157,700 during the second quarter, up 7.4 percent from the second quarter of 2001, when the median price was $146,800; the annual rate of increase in the first quarter was 8.1 percent.

The median price is the midpoint, where half of the units sold for more and half sold for less.

Martin Edwards Jr., Realtors association president, said the overall rate of price increase is expected to slow.

"With record home sales and historically low levels of homes available for sale during the first quarter, there was a lot of pressure on home prices," he said.

"We're starting to see an easing of that pressure, which is reducing the risk of localized price bubbles. I should add we've never seen a national price bubble, and we expect price appreciation to return to normal patterns by next year, rising 1 or 2 points faster than the general rate of inflation."

Edwards is a partner in Colliers Wilkinson & Snowden Inc. in Memphis, Tenn.

The strongest increase was in Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y., with a median price of $307,200, up 29.6 percent from the second quarter of 2001.

Next came the Bergen-Passaic area of New Jersey at $338,800, up 24.7 percent. Third was the New York City-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area, where the second-quarter median price of $303,800 was 22.3 percent higher than a year earlier.

Median second-quarter metro resale prices ranged from a low of $83,800 in Topeka, Kan., to a high of more than six times that amount - $540,500 - in the San Francisco Bay area.

The second-most-expensive area was Anaheim-Santa Ana (Orange County), Calif., with a second-quarter median resale price of $411,100, followed by Boston at $397,700.

The second-least-costly area was Syracuse, N.Y., at $84,700, followed by Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., with a resale home price of $85,600.

Regionally, the strongest increase was in the West, where the median existing-home price of $218,700 was 12.6 percent above 2001's second quarter.

The highest increase in the region was in San Diego, with a median price of $361,900, up 21.3 percent from the second quarter of 2001.

Los Angeles-Long Beach, with a second quarter median price of $276,600, rose 18 percent from a year earlier. Anaheim-Santa Ana rose 16.6 percent, while Sacramento, Calif., at $202,100, rose 15.8 percent.

Tucson, Ariz.; Reno, Nev.; and San Francisco also experienced double-digit increases.

The median resale price in the Northeast during the second quarter was $160,300, a rise of 9.8 percent from a year earlier.

After Nassau-Suffolk, Bergen-Passaic, and the New York City area, the strongest increase in the region was in Monmouth-Ocean, N.J., where the typical resale price was $242,700, up 21 percent from a year ago.

The next biggest increases were recorded by Providence, R.I., with a median price of $185,800, up 20.7 percent, and Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, N.J., at $278,200, up 16.5 percent.

Five other metropolitan areas in the Northeast also show double-digit median price gains.

The median existing-home price in the South was $148,300, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

The strongest increase in the region was in the District of Columbia, where the median price of $249,700 was up 20.8 percent from a year earlier.

Next came Miami-Hialeah, at $186,800, up 17 percent, Wilmington, Del., with a median of $149,500, an increase of 14.5 percent, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood-Pompano Beach, Fla., at $195,400, up 13.5 percent. Three other metropolitan areas in the South experienced double-digit price increases.

In the Midwest, the median resale home price of $132,700 during the second quarter was 5.6 percent higher than the same period in 2001.

The strongest increase in the region was in Chicago, with a median price of $223,700, up 13 percent in the past year.

The next-highest increase was in Milwaukee, where the median price of $174,500 was 11.9 percent higher than the second quarter of 2001, followed by the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island area of Iowa and Illinois, at $193,800, up 8.4 percent.

The Business Wire press service contributed to this article.

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