Blomquist: u201cThe nationwide home price increase masks slowing home-price appreciation in the majority of housing markets across the country.u201d<@SM>Home price appreciation has cooled most dramatically since July 2013 in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego.<@SM>Home prices have not reached their 2007 highs and may not get there anytime soon. ***Charts courtesy of RealtyTrac.

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IRVINE, CA—US home sales volume decreased in July from a year ago for the third straight month, according to a report from RealtyTrac. US residential properties—including single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes—sold at an estimated annual pace of roughly 4.6 million in July, down 3% from the previous month and down 12% from a year ago—the third consecutive month where annualized sales volume has decreased on a year-over-year basis.

In addition, the report shows, while pricing is at its highest level since 2008, the velocity of the increase slowed in 65% of the country’s housing markets in July. The median price of US residential properties sold last month—including both distressed and non-distressed sales—was $191,000, up 3% from the previous month, and up 12% from a year ago to a 70-month high.

The mixed bag of news is interesting, according to Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac. “As distressed sales continue to decline, the share of sales is tilting toward more-expensive homes, boosting the nationwide median sales price. The nationwide home price increase, however, masks slowing home-price appreciation in the majority of housing markets across the country. This slowing appreciation was expected and provides another sign that the real estate recovery thus far is behaving rationally. Still, the housing market is entering a dicey transition phase where it is becoming much more reliant on first-time homebuyers and move-up buyers to sustain the recovery as investor involvement wanes.”

The slowing price appreciation is reflected in the decreasing percentage of home flips nationwide. As GlobeSt.com reported earlier this month, flipping of US residential properties dropped below 5% of all sales in the second quarter, according to a report from RealtyTrac. Nearly 31,000 single-family homes were flipped nationwide during the quarter, representing 4.6% of all US single-family home sales, which is down from 5.9% in the first quarter and down from 6.2% in the second quarter of 2013, the firm reports.

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