Blomquist: u201cApril home sales numbers are exhibiting the continued effects of low supply and still-strong demand that exist in many markets across the country.u201d<@SM>Home-price appreciation in these five markets has cooled off considerably since a year ago.<@SM>On the other hand, these five markets are still going strong pricewise.<@SM>It's been a rocky journey for US median home prices since the recession, but they remain on their recent upward journey and improvement path.<@SM>San Francisco and New York take the lead for markets surpassing the median home price point.


IRVINE, CA—The median sales price of US residential properties increased 4% in April over the previous month and 11% from April 2013—the biggest year-over-year increase since US median prices bottomed out in March 2012, according to a report from RealtyTrac. The average price is now at its highest level since December 2008, and prices have surpassed pre-recession levels in 19% of major US counties, according to the report.

The firm also says that the median sales price for both distressed and non-distressed properties nationwide was $172,000 in April. In addition, residential properties nationwide sold at an estimated annual pace of roughly 5.2 million in April, a decrease of less than 1% from March, but an increase of 4% from April 2013.

According to Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac, “April home sales numbers are exhibiting the continued effects of low supply and still-strong demand that exist in many markets across the country. Annualized sales volume nationwide decreased on a monthly basis for the sixth consecutive month, and the 4% annual increase in April was the lowest year-over-year increase so far this year.”

Blomquist adds that median home prices have now increased 21% since hitting bottom in March 2012, although they are still 28% below their pre-recession peak of $237,537 in August 2006. “There are a surprising number of markets, however, where median home prices have surpassed their previous peaks since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.”

Blomquist tells, “There are already signs the low inventory situation is easing as homeowners regain more equity and decide to list their homes for sale. Also, we see signs of the investors and cash buyerswho in large part have helped drive demand and the rapid rise in home prices over the past two yearsstart to slowly ease their buying frenzy. Both those elements lead us to believe that the upward pressure on prices will ease as early as the second half of this year. It already has started easing in some of the bellwether markets like Phoenix and Tampa, FL, where home price appreciation has been cut in half or more compared to a year ago.”

As reported in April, the median sales price of both distressed and non-distressed US residential properties was $164,500 in March up 1% from February and up 10% from March 2013, according to RealtyTrac. March was the 24th consecutive month where US median home prices increased on an annual basis, and the 10% annual increase was the biggest annual percentage increase in that 24-month span.