With rising in home prices, nearly two-thirds of the market hit all-time highs

by Chase Conner

In the final three months of 2017, home prices overall reached an all-time high in 114 markets, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.

The national median price for a single-family home in the fourth quarter increased 5.3 percent to $247,800 from last years $235,400. Single-family home prices last quarter increased in 92 percent of measured markets, with 162 out of 177 metropolitan statistical areas displaying increases in sales prices in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago.

Total existing-home sales, including single family and condos, increased 4.3 percent from 5.39 million in the third quarter to 5.62 million in the fourth quarter. Compared to last year, the results show to be 1.3 percent higher than the 5.55 million during the fourth quarter of 2016.

“A majority of the country saw an upswing in buyer interest at the end of last year, which ultimately ended up putting even more strain on inventory levels and prices,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist said. “Remarkably, home prices have risen a cumulative 48 percent since 2011, yet during this same timeframe, incomes are up only 15 percent. In the West region, where very healthy labor markets are driving demand, the gap is even wider.”

The report found that there were 1.48 million existing homes available for sale at the end of last year, which is 10.3 percent below the 1.65 million homes for sale at the end of the fourth quarter in 2016.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter and are 1.8 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2016. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $221,600 in the fourth quarter, 5.0 percent above a year earlier.

“While tight supply is expected to keep home prices on an upward trajectory in most metro areas in 2018, both the uptick in mortgage rates and the impact of the new tax law on some high-cost markets could cause price growth to moderate nationally,” said Yun.