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How are home values in your neighborhood?

Home prices continued to fall in the first three months of this year compared to the same time last year, and the number of houses resold declined even more sharply, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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The Realtors' economist predicts that the market will turn around in the second half of the year.

"Essentially, we see that the existing-home market is stabilizing in a broad cyclical trough and moving in the right direction, with a modest gain from the fourth quarter," senior economist Lawrence Yun says in a news release. "Conditions changed fairly rapidly during the boom, but we need more patience now to see a slow, gradual recovery, which should start in the second half of this year."

Yun defines "the right direction" as an upward movement in prices. Naturally, first-time buyers will disagree.

Houses and condominium units were resold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.41 million units in the first three months of this year. That's down 6.6 percent from the sales rate in the first quarter of 2006, and down slightly from the 6.48 million units that were resold in all of 2006.

Evidently, homeowners have been reluctant to deal, as prices fell more slowly than the number of units sold. In the first quarter of this year, half the houses were sold for more than $212,300, or 1.8 percent below the median price of $216,100 in the first quarter of 2006.

The decline is sharper when you look at the median price for all of 2006: $221,900. The median price in the first quarter of this year was 4.3 percent below that.

Median prices have fallen three quarters in a row, and they fall faster each quarter, like a bullet dropped from the top of the Empire State Building. The median price in the first quarter this year was 3.1 percent below the median price in the final three months of 2006.

The National Association of Realtors explains that "there is a downward skew" in the price data "because sales have shifted away from many high-cost areas." In the year ending in March, sales were down more than 25 percent in higher-priced Nevada, Hawaii and Florida, as sales were up in lower-price areas such as Wyoming, Arkansas and Iowa.

Prices have been relatively flat in Lexington, Ky., where a Bankrate reader named Aaron is about to close on a $121,500 house. That's about $26,000 below the median price for the Lexington metro area. He is getting a loan for 100 percent of the home's price.

"I was mildly concerned about market conditions, but based on the relatively stable market here, I didn't let the market keep me up at night," Aaron says in an e-mail. He is getting married this summer, and after the couple pay their wedding-related expenses, they will plunk down a few thousand dollars toward principal, building some equity. They plan to pay an extra $100 or so toward principal every month.

"I don't envision staying at this house for more than several years, so naturally I would like to come out ahead (at least match inflation) when I sell the house," Aaron says.

Even though prices fell faster in the first quarter than they did in the previous two quarters, the NAR says it is encouraged by "a flattening in home prices."

"It appears that the worst of the price correction is behind us," says Pat V. Combs, president of the trade association. "More stable home prices and declining mortgage interest rates are increasing buying power, which should encourage potential buyers who've been on the sidelines."

The most expensive housing in the first quarter was in the Silicon Valley in Northern California, with a median price of $788,000. Prices there were up about 4 percent from the previous quarter and from the first quarter of 2006. The second most expensive area was up the peninsula in San Francisco and Oakland, with a median price of $748,100. The most expensive metro area outside California was the Golden State's playground, Honolulu, where the median price was $620,000.

The least expensive metro area was Elmira, N.Y., where half the houses sold for less than $75,300. It was followed by Decatur, Ill., with a median price of $76,200, and the Youngstown, Ohio, area, at $78,300.

As far as price gains go, the biggest year-over-year increase was in the Cumberland, Md., metro area, where the median price was $100,000, or 17 percent higher than the $85,400 median price in the first quarter of 2006. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas, came next, with the median price rising 16.5 percent in a year, and Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss., where the median price advanced 15.7 percent.

The biggest price decline was in the aforementioned Elmira, N.Y., down 14.9 percent compared to a year before. Year-over-year median prices fell 12 percent in the Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., metro area, and 10.9 percent in New Orleans.

See the detailed market-by-market numbers.

 

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Median home prices: Second quarter 2004 - 2005
2004
2005
%
Change
Birmingham-Hoover
149.5
156.1
4.4
Mobile
116.8
129.1
10.5
Montgomery
116.9
133.3
14.0
2004
2005
%
Change
No data available
N/A
N/A
N/A
top of page
2004
2005
%
Change
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale
165.6
243.4
47.0
Tucson
175.8
228.5
30.0
2004
2005
%
Change
Little Rock - N. Little Rock
110.4
118.9
7.7
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2004
2005
%
Change
Orange County (Anaheim/Santa Ana MSA)
655.3
696.1
6.2
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana
438.4
474.8
8.3
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
294.5
367.6
24.8
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville
308.2
377.4
22.5
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos
559.7
605.6
8.2
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont
647.3
726.9
12.3
2004
2005
%
Change
Boulder
331.2
346.2
4.5
Colorado Springs
189.6
214.2
13.0
Denver-Aurora
241.8
248.4
2.7
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2004
2005
%
Change
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk
452.9
487.3
7.6
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford
226.2
257.7
13.9
New Haven- Milford
246.8
283.8
15.0
Norwich-New London
236.7
246.8
4.3
2004
2005
%
Change
No data available
N/A
N/A
N/A
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2004
2005
%
Change
Washington, D.C.
340.1
429.2
26.2
2004
2005
%
Change
Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice
273.9
367.8
34.3
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach
147.9
194.0
31.2
Fort Myers-Cape Coral
183.8
266.8
45.2
Gainesville
167.1
178.8
7.0
Jacksonville
154.5
166.6
7.8
Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay
145.7
204.0
40.0
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach
282.1
371.6
31.7
Ocala
112.3
135.3
20.5
Orlando
170.1
232.2
36.5
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent
132.7
163.6
23.3
Tallahassee
148.8
163.3
9.7
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
158.2
195.0
23.3
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2004
2005
%
Change
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta
156.8
166.5
6.2
2004
2005
%
Change
Honolulu
451.1
577.8
28.1
2004
2005
%
Change
Boise City-Nampa
139.7
161.8
15.8
2004
2005
%
Change
Aurora/Elgin
N/A
N/A
N/A
Bloomington-Normal
149.2
155.8
4.4
Champaign-Urbana
125.2
137.6
9.9
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet
244.1
263.6
8.0
Danville
62.8
73.4
16.9
Decatur
77.3
86.8
12.3
Kankakee-Bradley
115.4
132.3
14.6
Peoria
98.4
110.5
12.3
Rockford
103.5
122.7
18.6
Springfield
104.5
109.0
4.3
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2004
2005
%
Change
Fort Wayne
98.6
102.8
4.3
Gary-Hammond
124.6
129.6
4.0
Indianapolis
125.9
124.6
-1.0
South Bend-Mishawaka
93.8
102.1
8.8
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2004
2005
%
Change
Cedar Rapids
131.9
131.6
-0.2
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island
108.0
133.9
24.0
Des Moines
141.8
145.1
2.3
Waterloo-Cedar Falls
95.4
100.7
5.6
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2004
2005
%
Change
Topeka
103.7
103.1
-0.6
Wichita
105.8
106.3
0.5
2004
2005
%
Change
Lexington-Fayette
139.4
144.8
3.9
Louisville, Ky./Ind.
133.4
136.8
2.5
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2004
2005
%
Change
Baton Rouge
128.2
135.4
5.6
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner
137.5
152.6
11.0
Shreveport-Bossier City
111.4
125.1
12.3
2004
2005
%
Change
Dover
147.6
176.3
19.4
Portland-South Portand-Biddeford
227.2
247.2
8.8
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2004
2005
%
Change
Baltimore-Towson
225.2
264.7
17.5
Cumberland, Md./W.Va.
74.7
88.6
18.6
Hagerstown, Md-Martinsburg, W.Va.
160.1
206.0
28.7
2004
2005
%
Change
Barnstable Town
372.6
398.6
7.0
Boston-Cambridge-Quuincy, Mass.,- N.H.
392.7
418.5
6.6
New Bedford-Fall River-Providence, R.I./Mass.
274.3
291.6
6.3
Pittsfield
198.7
211.8
6.6
Springfield
177.6
197.9
11.4
Worcester
279.2
292.3
4.7
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2004
2005
%
Change
Detroit-Warren-Livonia
168.6
169.2
0.4
Grand Rapids
134.5
139.0
3.3
Kalamazoo-Portage
127.1
122.6
-3.5
Lansing-East Lansing
140.4
143.6
2.3
Saginaw-Saginaw Township North
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004
2005
%
Change
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn./Wis.
218.0
237.7
9.0
Fargo, N.D./Minn.
124.2
132.6
6.8
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2004
2005
%
Change
Biloxi-Gulfport
113.1
124.0
9.6
Jackson
118.6
131.7
11.0
2004
2005
%
Change
Kansas City, Mo./Kan.
152.1
157.1
3.3
St. Louis
131.5
141.9
7.9
Springfield
127.4
N/A
N/A
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2004
2005
%
Change
No data available
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004
2005
%
Change
Lincoln
135.3
138.3
2.2
Omaha
133.2
137.3
3.1
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2004
2005
%
Change
Las Vegas-Paradise
269.9
300.1
11.2
Reno-Sparks
270.5
357.4
32.1
2004
2005
%
Change
No data available
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004
2005
%
Change
Atlantic City
194.8
244.9
25.7
Bergen-Passaic
N/A
N/A
N/A
Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon
N/A
N/A
N/A
Monmouth-Ocean
N/A
N/A
N/A
Newark-Union
377.2
414.4
9.9
Trenton-Ewing
235.9
267.9
13.5
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2004
2005
%
Change
Albuquerque
145.4
171.7
18.1
Farmington
134.8
151.8
12.6
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2004
2005
%
Change
Albany-Schenectady-Troy
157.8
176.1
11.6
Binghamton
84.7
93.3
10.2
Buffalo-Niagara Falls
96.0
97.5
1.6
Elmira
81.4
N/A
N/A
Glens Falls
132.7
142.0
7.0
Kingston
220.3
250.7
13.8
Nassau-Suffolk
414.8
467.7
12.8
New York metro (incl. Northern N.J., Long Island and Conn.)
382.8
452.7
18.3
New York-Edison, N.J.
320.9
394.1
22.8
Rochester
105.1
110.7
5.3
Syracuse
94.7
108.7
14.8
Wayne-White Plains
422.5
506.8
20.0
2004
2005
%
Change
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C./S.C.
172.2
N/A
N/A
Durham
151.6
198.5
30.9
Greensboro-High Point
140.3
148.0
5.5
Raleigh-Cary
172.5
185.2
7.4
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2004
2005
%
Change
Fargo
124.2
132.6
6.8
2004
2005
%
Change
Akron
116.0
119.8
3.3
Canton-Massillon
115.6
N/A
N/A
Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio/Ky./Ind.
147.5
148.5
0.7
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor
139.3
144.7
3.9
Columbus
150.4
155.9
3.7
Dayton
119.7
119.4
-0.3
Toledo
116.7
118.6
1.6
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman
85.2
82.9
-2.7
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2004
2005
%
Change
Oklahoma City
107.0
115.7
8.1
Tulsa
113.3
117.4
3.6
top of page
2004
2005
%
Change
Eugene-Springfield
163.0
192.4
18.0
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore./Wash.
204.2
238.0
16.6
Salem
151.3
172.0
13.7
2004
2005
%
Change
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Penn/-N.J.
201.1
249.1
23.9
Erie
94.1
98.5
4.7
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Penn./ N.J./De./Md.
188.0
211.0
12.2
Pittsburgh
117.5
118.5
0.9
Reading
120.5
140.4
16.5
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2004
2005
%
Change
Providence
274.3
291.6
6.3
2004
2005
%
Change
Charleston-North Charleston
191.9
193.6
0.9
Columbia
120.7
133.7
10.8
Greenville
136.3
143.2
5.1
Spartanburg
115.2
118.7
3.0
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2004
2005
%
Change
Sioux Falls
129.7
137.7
6.2
2004
2005
%
Change
Chattanooga, Tenn./Ga.
131.8
130.5
-1.0
Knoxville
131.4
143.4
9.1
Memphis, Tenn./Miss./Ariz.
138.3
150.1
8.5
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro
147.4
159.7
8.3
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2004
2005
%
Change
Amarillo
96.4
107.4
11.4
Austin-Round Rock
158.8
166.8
5.0
Beaumont-Port Arthur
95.9
96.5
0.6
Corpus Christi
111.5
123.0
10.3
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
141.0
149.1
5.7
El Paso
96.0
108.9
13.4
Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land
139.2
142.5
2.4
San Antonio
124.7
134.0
7.5
2004
2005
%
Change
Salt Lake City
161.5
169.9
5.2
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2004
2005
%
Change
No data available
N/A
N/A
N/A
2004
2005
%
Change
Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News
155.1
192.0
23.8
Richmond
173.0
198.4
14.7
Arlington-Alexandria, Md./W.Va.
340.1
429.2
26.2
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2004
2005
%
Change
Richland-Kennewick-Pasco
147.2
152.7
3.7
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
258.8
310.3
19.9
Spokane
127.3
158.6
24.6
Yakima
133.0
134.8
1.4
2004
2005
%
Change
Charleston
115.1
121.7
5.7
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2004
2005
%
Change
Appleton
125.6
129.6
3.2
Green Bay
141.7
159.2
12.4
Glens Falls
132.7
142.0
7.0
Madison
194.7
220.1
13.0
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis
197.3
216.8
9.9
2004
2005
%
Change
No data available
N/A
N/A
N/A
Source: National Association of Realtors, Quarterly Housing Affordability Index
 
-- Posted: May 16, 2005
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