The U.S. median existing single-family home price in the fourth quarter was $247,800, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
. The fourth quarter’s price was up 5.6 percent from the third quarter and up 5.3 percent from one year earlier.
Single-family home prices increased in 162 out of the 177 markets tracked by NAR, or 92 percent of measured markets, with 26 markets recording double-digit increases and 18 metros setting new peak sales prices. Home prices are now at their all-time high in 114 markets, or nearly two-thirds of nation’s major metro areas.
Four of the five most expensive housing markets in the fourth quarter were all in California: San Jose ($1.27 million median existing single-family price), San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($920,000), Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine ($785,000); urban Honolulu ($760,600) and San Diego-Carlsbad ($610,000). In comparison, the lowest-cost metro area in the fourth quarter was Cumberland, Md., with a median sales price of $84,600.
“A majority of the country saw an upswing in buyer interest at the end of last year, which ultimately ended up putting even more strain on inventory levels and prices,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Remarkably, home prices have risen a cumulative 48 percent since 2011, yet during this same timeframe, incomes are up only 15 percent. In the West region, where very healthy labor markets are driving demand, the gap is even wider.”
Total existing-home sales, including single family and condos, increased 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million in the fourth quarter from 5.39 million in the third quarter, and are 1.3 percent higher than the 5.55 million pace during the fourth quarter of 2016.