Median single-family resale home prices rose in 62 percent of metro areas tracked by the National Association of Realtors in the third quarter compared to third quarter 2006, according to a report released today, while the U.S. median price fell 2 percent and total existing-home sales dropped in most states.

Ninety-three of 150 metro areas in the report had year-over-year price gains in the third quarter, with double-digit price gains in six metro areas and double-digit price declines in three metro areas.

Meanwhile, all but two states experienced a year-over-year sales decline in the third quarter, with two states reporting a sales increase and data not available for two states, according to the NAR report.

The median single-family resale price slipped 3.8 percent in the West in the third quarter compared to third-quarter 2006, fell 3.6 percent in the South, rose 3.2 percent in the Northeast and gained 0.5 percent gain in the Midwest, the Realtor trade group reported.

Nationwide sales of single-family homes, condos and co-ops fell 13.7 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, with a 21.5 percent drop in the West, a 14.3 percent drop in the South, a 10.8 percent drop in the Midwest and a 7.3 percent drop in the Northeast.

The Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla., metro area suffered the largest year-over-year drop in median single-family resale home prices in the third quarter among metro areas tracked by NAR, tumbling 12.4 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Prices fell 10.5 percent in the Sacramento, Calif., metro area, and 10.4 percent in the Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Fla., metro area in the third quarter compared to third-quarter 2006.

Other metros with large year-over-year price median single-family resale price declines in the third quarter include: New Orleans, down 8.2 percent; Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Md.-W.V., down 8 percent; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, down 7.6 percent; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., and Detroit, both down 7.3 percent.

The largest metro area price gains were in: Bismarck, N.D., up 15.1 percent; Salt Lake City, up 14.1 percent; Yakima, Wash., up 13.6 percent; Binghamton, N.Y., up 11.4 percent; Charlotte, N.C., up 11 percent; and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas, up 10.2 percent.

The U.S. median single-family resale home price was $220,800 in the third quarter, and regionally the price stood at $338,100 in the West, $286,300 in the Northeast, $180,800 in the South and $170,800 in the Midwest.

Median third-quarter single-family resale home prices ranged from a low of $81,600 in the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., metro area to $852,500 in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., area. The second most expensive area was San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area, at $825,400, followed by the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine area in Orange County, Calif., at $700,700.

Other affordable markets include the Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, Mich., area, NAR reported, which had a third-quarter single-family median price of $84,900, and Decatur, Ill., at $85,900.

Sales of single-family, condo and co-op homes fell 25 percent or more in five states in the third quarter compared to the same quarter last year, dropping 35.3 percent in Nevada, 32 percent in Florida, 30.9 percent in Arizona, 28.6 percent in Maryland, and 27.8 percent in California. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a statement, “The biggest decline in sales appears to be concentrated in areas that had significant levels of speculative investment.”

Sales rose 2.9 percent in North Dakota in the third quarter compared to third-quarter 2006, and rose 0.8 percent in Vermont. Data was not reported for Idaho and New Hampshire.

The association reported that the median sales price of resale apartment condos and co-ops rose 2 percent nationwide in the third quarter compared to third-quarter 2006, rising 4.4 percent in the Northeast, 4 percent in the Midwest, was unchanged in the South and dropped 2.3 percent in the West. The U.S. median sales price of condos and co-ops was $226,900 in the third quarter. Regionally, the price was $259,800 in the Northeast, $257,900 in the West, $199,900 in the Midwest and $183,200 in the South.

The median condo and co-op resale price climbed 22.3 percent in the Bismarck, N.D. metro area in the third quarter compared to third-quarter 2006; rose 19.2 percent in the Austin-Round Rock, Texas, area; 14.9 percent in Portland, Ore.; 14.5 percent in Dallas; and 12.1 percent in Salt Lake City. The steepest price decline was in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., down 17.3 percent; followed by New Orleans, down 12.1 percent; and Sacramento, down 10.4 percent.

Yun said that while some metro areas “are experiencing localized problems,” home prices “in the vast midsection of America, from the Appalachians to the Rockies, are affordable and, perhaps, even undervalued.”

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