The national housing market's recovery likely strengthened during the third quarter, as multiple metropolitan statistical areas had sales and price jumps, according to property data from the National Association of Realtors.
Existing-home sales improved last quarter, as the rate finished at 4.68 million units. This was more than 3 percent higher than the second quarter's figure of 4.54 million, as well as approximately 10 percent improved from the third quarter of 2011, the report explained.
Inventory dropped significantly at the end of the third quarter. The total level of homes on the market was approximately 2.32 million units, according to the report. This was 20 percent lower than the amount recorded during the same three-month period in 2011. At that point, the level was 2.9 million units.
"Housing inventories have been gradually trending down from a record set in the summer of 2007," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. "Earlier this year, a broad equilibrium began to develop in most areas between homebuyers and sellers, which led to a sustained upturn in home prices. We expect fairly normal appreciation patterns in 2013, but there is a risk of price acceleration if builders are unable to increase supply to meet the needs of our growing population and household formation."
Home prices improve in Q3
The home price situation also improved last quarter, as the median price for a single-family property was $186,100, the report showed. This was more than 7.5 percent higher than the previous figure of $173,000, recorded one year earlier. The last time a price gain was this significant, it was the first three months of 2006. At that point, the level rose more than 9 percent.
Of the 149 MSAs featured in the report, 120 had price improvements during the month, compared to the same three months in 2011, the report added. A total of 29 areas experienced price declines. However, the number of MSAs with price improvements rose from the second quarter as 110 MSAs had price gains at that point.
Price improvements continued into the fourth quarter, as well. According to real estate records from Trulia, asking prices rose nearly 3 percent in October, compared to the same month in 2011.