During the fourth quarter, market conditions made homes more affordable for prospective buyers, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.
The industry group's report indicated that during the three month period, home prices became more affordable, interest rates remained low, sales increased and the inventory thinned - creating more balanced conditions.
"Sales have risen strongly in lower price ranges from one year ago, while sales at the upper end remain sluggish," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "More importantly, we're seeing a consistent trend of declining inventory, which means supply and demand conditions are becoming more balanced in more areas, which will help stabilize home prices."
Real estate data showed that the prices of existing single-family homes increased in 29 of the 149 metropolitan statistical areas examined, while two remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, nationwide median home prices decreased 4 percent on an annual basis during the quarter to $162,500. However, the report noted that roughly 30 percent of all home sales transactions were for distressed properties, causing the sales rate to surge 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.42 million during the fourth quarter.