Median home prices up in first quarter

Associated Press

May 11, 2010, LA Times

WASHINGTON — Home prices rose in nearly 60 percent of U.S. cities in the first quarter of this year, as the housing market started to stabilize thanks to billions of dollars in federal spending.

The National Association of Realtors says the median sales price for previously occupied homes rose in 91 out of 152 metropolitan areas tracked in the January-March quarter versus a year ago. There were double-digit price increases in 29 cities.

That’s a sharp improvement from the fourth quarter of last year, when prices rose in about 40 percent of cities. The national median price was $166,100, or 0.7 percent below the first quarter of last year.

Sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties made up 36 percent of all sales in the first quarter.

The largest percentage price increase was in Saginaw, Mich., where the median price doubled to nearly $61,000. Prices in Akron, Ohio were up 95 percent to about $95,000. Prices in Cleveland were up 54 percent to $106,400.

The largest price decline was in Orlando, Fla., where they dropped 15 percent to nearly $132,000. Prices in Ocala, Fla., fell 14.5 percent to a median of nearly $93,000. Prices in Cumberland, Md., fell 14.4 percent to $98,300.

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