Median home prices higher or stable in third quarter

Median home, condo and co-op prices rose or remained stable in most metropolitan areas in the third quarter compared to a year ago, according to the latest report on median home prices by the National Association of Realtors.

Despite a broad decline in existing-home sales, 93 out of 150 metropolitan statistical areas showed increases in median existing single-family home prices from a year earlier. Six areas showed double-digit annual gains, 21 showed increases of 6 percent or more, 54 had price declines and three were unchanged.

The national median existing single-family home price declined 2 percent in the quarter -- from $225,300 to $220,800 -- impacted by a disruption in higher priced sales.

Regionally, the median existing single-family home price in the Northeast rose 3.2 percent to $286,300 in the third quarter from the same period in 2006. In the Midwest, the median existing single-family home price increased 0.5 percent to $170,800 in the third quarter from the same period in 2006.

The median existing single-family home price in the South was $180,800 in the third quarter, which is 3.6 percent below a year earlier. The median existing single-family home price in the West was $338,100 in the third quarter, down 3.8 percent from a year ago.

The condo sector, including metro area condominium and cooperative prices -- covering changes in 59 metro areas -- showed the national median existing condo price was $226,900 in the third quarter, up 2 percent from $222,500 in the third quarter of 2006. Forty-one metros showed annual increases in the median condo price, including six areas with double-digit gains; 18 areas had price declines.

“Some metro areas are hot, while others are experiencing localized problems,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “The report also shows that home prices in the vast midsection of America -- from the Appalachians to the Rockies -- are affordable and, perhaps, even undervalued.”