Thirty-seven of 151 metro areas tracked by the National Association of Realtors had double-digit home-price increases in the second quarter compared to second-quarter 2005, the trade group reported today, while 26 metro areas had price declines.

“Many of the areas with declines are showing weakness in the local labor market,” the Realtors group noted. Five Illinois metro areas, four in Indiana, and four in Ohio had price declines in the second quarter compared to second-quarter 2005, according to the report.

The Danville, Ill., metro area had an 11.2 percent decline in metro prices in second-quarter 2006 compared to second-quarter 2005, followed by Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., with an 8 percent decline. The Davenport-Moline-Rock Island metro area in Iowa and Illinois and the Rockford, Ill., metro area both had 5.5 percent declines in second-quarter 2006 compared to second-quarter 2005.

The national median existing single-family home price was $227,500 in the second quarter, up 3.7 percent from a year earlier when the median price was $219,400. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Metro-area condominium and cooperative prices, covering changes in 57 markets, show the national median existing condo price was $225,800 in the second quarter, down 0.3 percent from a year earlier. Fifteen metros showed double-digit annual gains in the median condo price, and 14 areas had declines.

The largest single-family home-price increase was in the Baton Rouge, La., area, where the second quarter price of $172,300 was 27.3 percent higher than a year ago, the association reported. Next was Ocala, Fla., at $169,500, up 25.3 percent from second-quarter 2005. The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News area of Virginia and North Carolina, with a second-quarter median price of $237,300, increased 23.6 percent.

Median second-quarter metro area single-family prices ranged from $65,200 in Danville, Ill., to nearly 12 times that amount in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area where the median price was $751,900. The second most expensive area was the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area of California, at $748,200, followed by the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine area in Orange County, Calif., at $726,200.

Other low-cost markets include the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman area of Ohio and Pennsylvania, the second least costly metro at $78,700, and Decatur, Ill., with a second-quarter typical resale home price of $85,300, the association reported.

In the condo sector, the strongest gains were in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area, where the second-quarter price of $189,600 rose 25.3 percent from second-quarter 2005. In the Trenton-Ewing, N.J., metro area, the median condo price of $261,600 rose 23.3 percent from the second quarter of 2005, while Honolulu, at $305,000, increased 18.7 percent.

Metro-area median existing condo prices in the second quarter ranged from $109,900 in Greensboro-High Point, N.C., to $647,200 in San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont. The second most expensive condo market was Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, at $410,500, followed by the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos area of California at $373,800, the association reported.

Other low-cost condo markets include Bismarck, N.D., at $110,000, and Rochester, N.Y., at $110,500.

David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement, “With more sellers competing for the pool of buyers, the pressure on home prices has evaporated in most metro areas. After a full year of double-digit gains in the national median price, the timing is right for a cooling in the rate of growth — we are presently experiencing a soft landing in the housing sector.”

Thomas M. Stevens, NAR president, said the growth in inventory is more pronounced in the condo sector. “Buyers generally have more choices in the condo market, so prices in many areas are fairly flat,” he said.

Regionally, the median resale single-family home price in the second quarter was $299,200 in the Northeast, up 6.3 percent from a year ago. The strongest increase in the region was in Elmira, N.Y., at $87,300, up 12.4 percent from the second quarter of 2005, followed by Glens Falls, N.Y., with a median price of $158,700, up 11.8 percent, and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, at $235,100, up 11.4 percent.

In the South, the median existing single-family home price was $188,200 in the second quarter, up 4.1 percent from a year earlier. After the Baton Rouge, Ocala and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News areas, the strongest increase in the South was in Gainesville, Fla., at $214,100, up 19.7 percent from the second quarter of 2005. Next were the Florida areas of Jacksonville and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, at $198,000 and $231,600, respectively, both up 18.8 percent from a year ago, according to the report.

In the West, the median existing single-family home price rose 3.6 percent to $350,800 during the second quarter. The strongest increase in the West was in the Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton area of Oregon and Washington, at $242,700, up 19.1 percent from second quarter of 2005, followed by Spokane, Wash., at $179,000, up 18.6 percent, and Eugene-Springfield, Ore., at $227,600, up 18.3 percent from a year ago.

In the Midwest, the second-quarter median existing single-family home price of $167,400 slipped 2 percent from a year earlier. The strongest metro increase in the Midwest was in Bismarck, N.D., where the median price of $138,600 was 14.1 percent higher than the second quarter of 2005. Next was the St. Louis area, at $153,000, up 7.8 percent, and Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa, at $108,200, up 7.4 percent in the last year.

Regional median home prices include rural areas and samples of smaller metros that are not included in this report, the Realtors group noted, and the regional percentage changes do not necessarily parallel changes in the larger metro areas.

NAR began publication of metropolitan-area median single-family home prices in 1982; the metro-area condo data was first reported earlier this year.

Because there is a concentration of condos in high-cost metro areas, the national median condo price often is higher than the median single-family price, the trade group reported. “In a given market area, condos typically cost less than single-family homes.”

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