The national median existing single-family home price in the first quarter was $245,500, a 5.7 percent increase from the $232,200 set in the first quarter of 2017, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
. The national family median income was $74,7794 in the first quarter, and NAR estimated a buyer making a five percent downpayment would need an income of $55,732 to purchase a single-family home at the national median price, while a 10 percent downpayment would require an income of $52,779 and $46,932 would be needed for a 20 percent downpayment.
However, those numbers could be subject to upward change. NAR also reported that single-family home prices last quarter increased in 162 out of 178 metro areas that it tracked, with 53 metro areas recording double-digit increases, up from 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. Even more problematic was inventory: by the end of the first quarter, total existing-home sales were down 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.51 million, compared to 5.59 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 and 5.60 million in the first quarter of 2017. There were 1.67 million existing homes available for sale at the end of the first quarter, 7.2 percent below the 1.80 million homes for sale at the end of the first quarter in 2017.
“The worsening inventory crunch through the first three months of the year inflicted even more upward pressure on home prices in a majority of markets,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Following the same trend over the last couple of years, a strengthening job market and income gains are not being met by meaningful sales gains because of unrelenting supply and affordability headwinds.”