About 45 percent of 149 metropolitan areas surveyed had double-digit increases in median existing single-family home prices from second-quarter 2004 to second-quarter 2005, the National Association of Realtors trade group reported today. Seven areas had price declines. The national median existing single-family home price was $208,500 in the second quarter, up 13.6 percent from the second quarter of 2004 when the median price was $183,500. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. In all, 94 metro areas saw increases above the U.S. historic average of 6.4 percent, the association reported. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said the price gains are unprecedented. "When you look at appreciation of home prices relative to the overall rate of inflation, these are the strongest increases on record," he said. "The continuing shortages of housing inventory are driving the price gains." Since 1968, prices generally have risen one...
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