Metro Area Home Prices Gain Momentum in First Quarter
Home Prices Rise in 91 U.S. Cities; NAR Launches New Campaign
May 11, 2010 - For the first quarter of 2010, median prices in U.S. metropolitan areas rose for the fourth consecutive time. Of the 152 areas tracked by Realtors, 91 saw an increase in home prices. First quarter's gain was part of a steady incline seen in prior terms, rising up from an especially low third quarter in 2009.
The tax credit's expiration last month fueled several to purchase homes. In the Midwest, where gains in median home prices were the highest, buyers have now focused on non-distressed real estate opposed to foreclosures.
However, despite the Midwest's gains, foreclosures continue to be a large part of the market, accounting for 36 percent of first quarter sales in 2010. States that were hit hard by foreclosures are now beginning to recover, with the exception of a few areas.
Those that were the exception were Ocala and Orlando, Florida and also Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada; each of the areas saw at least a 12 percent decline in home prices from the fourth quarter. During the first few months of 2010, prices in these cities continued to drop due to a high level of government foreclosures.
Optimistically, California, who nearly a year ago was one of the largest suffering markets, has begun to mend itself. In early 2009, bank-owned foreclosures represented nearly half of all of the state's sales. Since then, the state has significantly reduced this number.
In 2010, NAR forecasts that national home sales will rise 4.3 percent, reaching 5.38 million by the end of the year. If accurate, these figures would mark a slow, yet substantial gain for the housing market.
A New Approach to Homeownership
NAR recently launched their new public awareness campaign, "What Matters Most", an opportunity to bring ownership understanding to homebuyers, sellers and investors. The campaign reminds buyers that homeownership continues to be the foundation of the American Dream, despite present economic conditions.
NAR's new initiatives strive to deliver several messages on the true value of owning a home. Realtors will be supplied with several marketing materials, including print ads, billboards and posters to show how "homeownership plays a role in building communities and all the advantages of working with REALTOR®."