Sales of residential properties hit an annual pace of 4,508,559 in August, according to RealtyTrac’s Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report. That’s down half a percent from July and 16% lower than a year ago. August marks the fourth consecutive month of shrinking annual sales volume.
Prices continue to rise, however – albeit slowly. The median price of U.S. residential properties – including distressed sales – was $195,000 in August, up 3% from July and 15% higher than a year ago. August prices were at the highest level since 2008. But appreciation is slowing in most major markets, according to the report.
Among metropolitan areas with populations of 200,000 or more, 63% saw lower annual price growth than last year. Among the markets with the biggest slowdown in appreciation were San Francisco (which saw appreciation of only 9% this year compared to 37% the year before), Los Angeles (whose year-over-year appreciation went from 27% to 7%) and Phoenix (6% annual appreciation this year compared to 25% a year ago).
Meanwhile, sales of homes above $200,000 were up 10% from August of 2013, while sales of homes under $200,000 fell 9%.
“Higher-end properties are taking up a bigger share of a smaller home sales pie, boosting the median home price nationwide higher even as home price appreciation slows to single digits in many of last year’s red-hot local housing markets,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “On the other hand, markets where large institutional investors and other buyers have not picked clean lower-priced inventory are continuing to see strong, double-digit increases in median home prices.”
Home price appreciation is continuing to slow – but sales of less expensive homes are down while sales of more expensive homes are gathering steam.