Is the housing market 'coming out of hibernation'?

by Ryan Smith24 Apr 2014
Home sale prices continued upward in March, according to data released today.

The median sale price of residential properties – including distressed and non-distressed sales – was $164,500 in March, according to RealtyTrac’s March and Q1 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report. That’s up 1% from February and a 10% increase from March of 2013. March was the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year home price hikes, according to the report.

Total residential sales – including single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes – were also up slightly month-over-month, showing an increase of 0.4% – although new home sales took a big dive last month, according to the Commerce Department.

“The housing market showed signs of coming out of hibernation in March after a sluggish fall and winter,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Median home prices increased on a monthly basis following six consecutive months where they were flat or declining, and increased on an annual basis by the biggest percentage since hitting bottom in March 2012.
“Sales volume also increased slightly from March to February following four consecutive monthly decreases, but both annual sales volume and median prices are still below their recent peaks in October and August respectively,” Blomquist continued. “Meanwhile, the distressed share of sales increased from the fourth quarter to the first quarter nationwide and in 38 states, which — along with many non-distressed homeowners regaining enough equity to list their homes for sale — is helping to ease low inventory conditions in some markets.”

Short sales and distressed sales accounted for 16.4% of all sales in the first quarter. That’s up from 14.5% in the previous quarter but still below Q1 2013’s share of 18.5%. Las Vegas saw the highest percentage of distressed or short sales at 41.6%, followed by Stockton, Calif. (34.8%), Detroit (34.2%), Cleveland (34.2%) and Dayton, Ohio (33.4%).


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