According to RealtyTrac's April 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, U.S. residential properties, including single family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,213,793 in April, a decrease of less than 1 percent from March but an increase of 4 percent from April 2014.
The median sales price of U.S. residential properties -- including both distressed and non-distressed sales -- was $172,000 in April, an increase of 4 percent from the previous month and an increase of 11 percent from April 2014 -- the biggest year-over-year increase since U.S. median prices bottomed out in March 2012.
RealtyTrac Report Highlights:
Median Prices up 11 Percent from Year Ago to Highest Level Since December 2008.
Prices Have Surpassed Pre-Recession Levels in 19 Percent of Major Counties.
Short Sales and Foreclosure Sales Combined Account for Lowest Share of Sales YTD.
"April home sales numbers are exhibiting the continued effects of low supply and still-strong demand that exist in many markets across the country," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Annualized sales volume nationwide decreased on a monthly basis for the sixth consecutive month and the 4 percent annual increase in April was the lowest year-over-year increase so far this year. Meanwhile median home prices nationwide increased to the highest level since December 2008.
"U.S. median home prices have now increased 21 percent since hitting bottom in March 2012, although they are still 28 percent below their pre-recession peak of $237,537 in August 2006," Blomquist continued. "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."
Median prices surpass pre-recession levels in 19 percent of major counties
Since the recession ended in June 2009, median prices of residential property have surpassed pre-recession and recession levels (Jan 2005 through June 2009) in 53 counties, representing 19 percent of the 274 counties with a population of 200,000 or more where sufficient home price data is available.
New home price peaks were reached in the last two years in 28 counties, representing 10 percent of the total 274 counties analyzed, and seven counties reached new home price peaks in April 2014: San Francisco County, Calif.; Travis County, Texas in the Austin metro area; Jefferson County, Colo., in the Denver metro area; Marion County, Ind., in the Indianapolis metro area; Weld County, Colo., in the Greeley metro area northeast of Denver; Brazoria County, Texas in the Houston metro area; and Norfolk City, Va., in the Virginia Beach metro area.
Counties where the post-recession median home price peak is furthest above the pre-recession/recession median home price peak included Denver County, Colo. (up 16.6 percent), District of Columbia (up 14.5 percent), Arlington, Va., (up 12.6 percent), San Francisco County, Calif. (up 11.8 percent), New York County, N.Y. (up 11.1 percent), and Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.
"We are starting to exceed pre-recession levels in all categories of the market in Oklahoma," said Sheldon Detrick, CEO of Prudential Detrick/Alliance Realty, covering the Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla. markets. "Home value appreciation continues to rise despite a continued lack of available inventory."
Sales volume decreases annually in 13 states, 28 of 50 largest metro areas
Annualized sales volume in April decreased from a year ago in 13 states and the District of Columbia, along with in 28 of the nation's 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas.
States with decreasing sales volume from a year ago included California (down 13 percent), Nevada (down 9 percent), Arizona (down 8 percent), Florida (down 2 percent), Maryland (down 1 percent), and Michigan (down 1 percent).
Major metro areas with decreasing sales volume from a year ago included Fresno, Calif., (down 23 percent), Boston (down 22 percent), Orlando (down 18 percent), San Francisco (down 16 percent), Los Angeles (down 14 percent), and Phoenix (down 12 percent).
"We are seeing median sales prices increase throughout Southern California as affordable inventory clears out, pushing people into higher price points," said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. "The rise in median price has offset the reduction in inventory to provide a stable overall market."
Home price appreciation continues to cool in some of last year's hottest markets
Nationwide median home prices in April increased 11 percent from a year ago -- the biggest year-over-year increase since U.S. median residential property prices bottomed out in March 2012. April marked the 25th consecutive month where U.S. median prices increased on an annual basis.
But home price appreciation continued to show signs of slowing in some fastest appreciating markets from a year ago. In Phoenix, median sales prices for residential property increased 9 percent annually, down from 30 percent annual price appreciation in April 2013 and the lowest annual price appreciation for the city since March 2012.
Denver median prices increased 6 percent annually in April, down from 16 percent annual price appreciation a year ago and the lowest annual price appreciation since April 2012; Jacksonville, Fla., median prices increased 4 percent annually in April, down from 17 percent annual price appreciation a year ago and the fourth consecutive month with single-digit annual price appreciation; Tampa, Fla., median prices increased 5 percent annually in April, down from 19 percent annual price appreciation a year ago and the second consecutive month with single-digit home price appreciation; and Tucson, Ariz., median prices increased 1 percent annually in April, down from 15 percent annual price appreciation a year ago and the eighth consecutive month with single-digit home price appreciation.
Markets with strongest home price appreciation
Although home price appreciation showed signs of cooling in several coastal California markets including as Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, inland California markets posted three of the top five annual increases in median prices in April among metropolitan areas with a population of 500,000 or more.
Topping the list was Modesto, Calif., with a 28 percent annual increase in median prices, followed by Stockton with a 24 percent annual increase. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in Southern California posted a 20 percent annual increase in median home prices, third highest among metros nationwide, and Sacramento also posted a nearly 20 percent annual increase in home prices, seventh highest nationwide.
Other cities among the top 10 for annual home price appreciation in April were Detroit (up 23 percent), Miami (up 20 percent), Atlanta (up 20 percent) and the Ohio cities of Dayton (up 20 percent) and Akron (up 18 percent). Columbus, Ohio also posted a double-digit percentage increase in median prices from a year ago, up 16 percent, and the three Ohio cities all saw accelerating annual home price appreciation compared to a year ago.
Distressed sales and short sales drop to lowest level year-to-date in April
Short sales and distressed sales -- in foreclosure or bank-owned -- accounted for 15.6 percent of all sales in April, down from 16.5 percent of all sales in March, and down from 17.2 percent of all sales in April 2013.
Metro areas with the highest share of combined short sales and distressed sales were Las Vegas (37.7 percent), Stockton, Calif., (33.3 percent), Modesto, Calif., (31.7 percent), Lakeland, Fla., (31.4 percent), Orlando, Fla. (29.3 percent), and Cleveland (27.8 percent).
Short sales nationwide accounted for 5.2 percent of all sales in April, down from 5.5 percent of all sales in March and down from 6.3 percent of all sales in April 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of short sales in April were Orlando, Fla., (14.8 percent), Lakeland, Fla., (14.5 percent), Tampa, Fla., (13.9 percent), Palm Bay, Fla., (13.2 percent), and Las Vegas (11.5 percent).
Sales of bank-owned (REO) properties nationwide accounted for 9.2 percent of all sales in April, down from 9.7 percent of all sales in March and down from 10.0 percent of all sales in April 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of REO sales in April were Modesto, Calif., (25.7 percent), Stockton, Calif., (25.6 percent), Las Vegas (23.0 percent), Akron, Ohio (22.3 percent), Dayton, Ohio (20.6 percent), and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in Southern California (19.9 percent).
Sales at the public foreclosure auction accounted for 1.2 percent of all sales nationwide in April, down from 1.3 percent of all sales in March, but still up from 0.8 percent of all sales in April 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of foreclosure auction sales in April were Lakeland, Fla., (5.0 percent), Orlando, Fla., (4.9 percent), Atlanta (3.6 percent), Miami (3.5 percent), Las Vegas (3.2 percent), and Jacksonville, Fla., (3.2 percent).