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Overwhelming majority of US metro areas saw home prices increase in the first quarter of 2024

Buyers in the U.S. housing market have faced the highest mortgage rates in 20 years, and the South registered the largest share of single-family existing-home sales in 2024's first quarter.
Home for sale sign in the lawn of a residence.
Posted at 6:41 PM, May 08, 2024

New data shows that over 90% of U.S. metro areas saw home prices increase in the first quarter of 2024, the National Association of Realtors said in a quarterly report released on Wednesday. The group said the single-family existing-home sale prices increased in 93% of metro areas across the country in a measure of 205 out of 221 metro areas.

Home prices for the same types of existing single-family homes increased by 5% from a year ago. The median price for an existing single-family home is now at $389,400, NAR said. A typical monthly mortgage payment on an existing single-family home with a 20% down payment jumped by 9.3% from a year ago to $2,037.

The NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun called the price increases astonishing as they come during record-high mortgage rates not seen in two decades. Ten of the areas NAR looked at were at the top of the list with the largest year-over-year median price increases, including: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (23.7%); Kankakee, Illinois (22.0%); Rockford, Illinois (20.1%); Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (20.0%); Johnson City, Tennessee (19.3%); Racine, Wisconsin (19.0%); Newark, New Jersey (18.8%); Bloomington, Illinois (18.5%); New York-Jersey City-White Plains, New York-New Jersey (18.4%) and Cumberland, Maryland (18.2%)

NAR listed all of the 10 most expensive U.S. markets in its report along with the median price of an existing single-family home; and the median price increases in percentages next to those prices.
Out of the list of the top 10 most expensive metro areas, eight of those were in the state of California.

NAR listed those markets to include, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California ($1,840,000; 13.7%); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, California ($1,365,000; 14.2%); San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California ($1,300,000; 14%); Urban Honolulu, Hawaii ($1,085,800; 5.5%); San Diego-Carlsbad, California ($981,000; 11.5%); San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, California ($909,300; 7%); Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California ($908,700; 7.6%); Salinas, California ($899,200; 4.1%); Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida ($850,000; 9.4%); and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California ($823,000; 10.2%).

Just 7% of the metro areas NAR collected data on for its first-quarter report — 15 out of 221 — saw home prices decline in the first quarter, NAR said. That was down from 14% in the fourth quarter of last year.

First-time buyers face even more limited inventory and elevated home prices, the real estate industry analysis said. NAR considers a typical starter home to now be priced at around $331,000. With a 10% down payment on the loan, NAR's data shows the home buyer would pay around $2,000 a month. That monthly payment was at just over $2,000 in the last quarter, according to NAR data.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released this year, the total median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers in the U.S. was $1,117, which would equal around $4,840 per month. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling says that, as a general rule of thumb, no more than 30% of gross income should be spent on housing, making home ownership on even a typical starter home out of reach for the average salary and wage earner.