Nationwide gains in home prices observed during first quarter

The latest quarterly report released by the National Association of Realtors illustrated a number of significant improvements in median home prices, pointing toward the best year-over-year national gain recorded in more than seven years.

As economic improvement was repeatedly seen during the first three months of 2013, positive increases were also exhibited in housing markets nationwide. With mortgage records having showed continuously lowering rate averages and consumer confidence rising successively for weeks, dropping inventory levels gave way to jumps in home prices for metropolitan areas across the county. 

The latest quarterly report released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) illustrated a number of significant improvements in the median home price amounts for residences located within 150 American metro areas, pointing toward the best year-over-year national gain recorded in more than seven years. It was reported that median existing single-family home prices during the first quarter of this year appreciated in 133 of the 150 metropolitan statistical areas examined by the organization. During the same period the preceding year, just 74 metro areas were noting improved median home prices.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the recent hikes could be indications of the overall strengthening of the national economy, but rising prices slow in the following year, as construction professionals look to increase efforts in making the level of supply equal to that of demand. For how, however, current conditions largely favor sellers. 

"The supply/demand balance is clearly tilted toward sellers in a good portion of the country," said Yun. "Inventory conditions are expected to remain fairly constrained this year, so overall price increases should be well above the historic gain of one-to-two percentage points above the rate of inflation.  If home builders can continue to ramp up production, then home price growth is expected to moderate in 2014."

Builders of 55-plus housing report heightened confidence
Not only are consumers' confidence levels improving amid the bolstering residential sector, but those of construction professionals who specialize in housing for aging individuals are also. As more baby boomers approach retirement, public property records may show an increasing number of 55-plus properties being built in the coming months and years.

The National Association of Home Builders' most recent 55-plus single-family Housing Market Index (HMI) sustained an increase of 19 points during the first quarter of 2013, moving up to a reading of 46. The latest improvement represents the highest first-quarter figure logged since the index's inception, and marks the sixth straight quarter year-over-year appreciation has been noted. 

Each component of the 55-plus single-family HMI reportedly showed substantial growth from year-ago levels. Present sales rose 19 points to settle at 46, while expected sales for the coming six months jumped 21 points to 53 and prospective buyer traffic hiked 15 points to a reading of 41.



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