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IRVINE, CA—More than half of major US markets are experiencinghome price-appreciation deceleration, according to a report from RealtyTrac. In addition, thefirm reports that REO and short sales are also on the declinenationwide.

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As GlobeSt.com reported earlier this week, the median salesprice of US single-family homes and condos inOctober was $193,000, up 2% from the previous month and up 16% froma year ago to the highest level since September 2008, a 73-monthhigh, according to a report from RealtyTrac. In addition,investor share of single-family homes and condosnationally is also rising.

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However, the rate at which prices are rising is slowing in mostmarkets. Home-price appreciation slowed in October compared to ayear ago in 52 of the 97 metro areas nationwide with a populationof half a million or more and with sufficient home-price data,RealtyTrac says—that's 54%. Some of the fastest-appreciatingmarkets in 2013 have seen substantial slowdowns in priceappreciation this year, including Phoenix; Los Angeles;Oxnard-Thousand-Oaks-Ventura in Southern California; Jacksonville,FL; Boston; and San Diego.

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Daren Blomquist, VP ofRealtyTrac, tells GlobeSt.com, “The slowing homeprice appreciation is expected because affordability levels in themajority of markets have reached or even exceeded their historicnorms. Given that interest rates are not likely to go much lowerand lending standards are not likely to loosen up significantly,there is little room left for prices to rise faster than incomegrowth going forward in these markets.”

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Still, home-price appreciation did accelerate in 45 of the 97metro areas RealtyTrac studied nationwide in October. Major metroswith the fastest-accelerating appreciation included Cincinnati;Cleveland; Nashville; Charlotte, NC; and Columbus, OH. Other majormarkets with accelerating home-price appreciation were Chicago,Dallas, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tampa and Baltimore.

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According to OB Jacobi, president ofWindermere Real Estate, covering the Seattlemarket, “The continued rise in Seattle median home prices islargely a result of a strong local economy, low housing supply andhigh buyer demand.” The percentage of distressed home sales inSeattle has returned to pre-mortgage-crisis levels, with activitybeing driven by the hardships that have always instigated shortsales, such as job loss, divorce, illness and job relocation. Mostof the distressed properties have shifted into theoutlying areas around Seattle and are selling for well under themedian home price.

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on GlobeSt.com and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.