Median home prices finally pass housing boom levels, hit all-time high

Home prices hit a new all-time high, finally surpassing the pre-recession peak, according to the Q3 2016 U.S. Home Sales Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, a source for comprehensive housing data and the new parent company of RealtyTrac.

In fact, the median home price increased 6% monthly to $230,000 in the third quarter, and is up 10% from last year. This is 1% above the pre-recession peak of $227,000 in 2005 and an all-time high in home prices.

“We are seeing the average seller home price gain since purchase start to wane in some of the highest-priced markets where appreciation is beginning to cool, indicating those markets are past their prime as sellers’ markets,” said Daren Blomquist, ATTOM Data Solutions senior vice president.

“Meanwhile there are still a number of buyers’ markets across the country where a high level of lingering distress and relatively weak demand from owner-occupant buyers provides investors with plenty of bargain-buying opportunities,” Blomquist added.

Some states, such as Texas, don’t look like they’ll be cooling off anytime soon, according to a new report from the Texas Association of Realtors.

Although home prices are up, borrowers are not having problems making their mortgage payments, with distressed sales down in the third quarter. Distressed sales now sit at the lowest level in nine years, according to the report.

Distressed sales dropped to 12.9% for all single family home and condo sales in the third quarter, down from 15% last quarter and 15.9% last year, the report stated. This marks the lowest share since the third quarter of 2007.

“Distressed inventory for sale is virtually non-existent in many of the nation’s hottest housing markets, and when a distressed property is listed for sale in those markets it often sells quickly and at little or no discount,” Blomquist said.

“The scarcity of discounted distressed inventory is chasing away cash buyers and other bargain hunters, but it’s certainly good news for home sellers, who nationwide realized the biggest home price gains since purchase in nine years,” he said.

In addition, the share of distressed sales is significantly lower than the 2009 peak of 43.9% of all single-family home and condo sales.

Cash sales also decreased in the third quarter, falling to 27.4% of market sales. This is down from 29.2% last year and the lowest level of cash sales since the third quarter of 2007’s 24.3%.

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