Median sales prices for existing single-family homes fell in the second quarter in the vast majority of metropolitan areas covered by the National Association of Realtors in its latest quarterly report.

Of 151 metro areas, 109 (72.2 percent) saw prices declines in second-quarter 2011 compared to second-quarter 2010. Of the rest, 41 metros saw price gains — up from 34 in the first quarter — and one metro remained unchanged.

Nationally, the median sales price fell 2.8 percent year over year, to $171,900.

"Median home prices have been moving up and down in a relatively narrow range in many markets, which shows a stabilization trend," said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a statement.

"Markets showing consistent price stability or increases are those with solid labor market conditions, such as … Washington, D.C.; San Antonio; or Fargo, N.D."

Distressed homes, typically sold at a discount compared to traditional homes, accounted for a third of sales in the second quarter, up slightly from 32 percent in second-quarter 2010, the report said. First-timers made up 35 percent of buyers, down from 46 percent at the same time a year ago when a first-time homebuyer tax credit was in place.

Repeat buyers made up more than half (56 percent) of buyers in the second quarter, up from 40 percent in second-quarter 2010.

Cash buyers and investors accounted for a higher share of purchases than in second-quarter 2010. The market share of cash buyers rose to 30 percent, from 25 percent in second-quarter 2010, and share of investors rose to 19 percent, from 14 percent in the same quarter last year.

Total U.S. existing-home sales fell 12.7 percent year over year and 5.4 percent quarter-to-quarter, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.86 million. The Northeast was hit hardest, with sales dropping 19.9 percent year over year in the second quarter to an annual level of 763,000. The region was the only one to see a median sales price increase, however: up 2 percent to $245,600.

The Midwest saw the biggest price decline among the four regions, down 5.4 percent to $139,800. The region also saw the second-largest year-over-year drop in sales, falling 18.3 percent to 1.05 million. Of the 10 states to see the biggest year-over-year sales decreases in the second quarter, four were in the Northeast and four were in the Midwest.

State Q2 2010 Q2 2011 % Chg.
NORTH DAKOTA 17,200 12,000 -30.2%
NEW YORK 292,400 206,400 -29.4%
NEW JERSEY 137,800 104,800 -23.9%
IOWA 72,800 55,600 -23.6%
KENTUCKY 88,800 68,000 -23.4%
SOUTH DAKOTA 18,800 14,400 -23.4%
PENNSYLVANIA 200,800 154,400 -23.1%
ALABAMA 83,200 65,200 -21.6%
WISCONSIN 98,400 77,600 -21.1%
MAINE 26,800 21,200 -20.9%
Note: Second-quarter 2011 data is preliminary.

Source: National Association of Realtors.

In the South, existing-home sales fell 9.9 percent year over year, to 1.89 million. The region’s median sales price dipped 2.7 percent, to $153,000. In the West, sales fell 6.2 percent, to 1.16 million — the smallest decrease among the regions. The region’s median sales price fell 3.1 percent year over year, to $218,000.

Of the 10 states where sales either increased or fell the least in the second quarter, six were in the West and four were in the South.

State Q2 2010 Q2 2011 % Chg.
ARIZONA 156,000 170,400 9.2%
WYOMING 8,800 9,600 9.1%
NEVADA 95,200 100,000 5.0%
IDAHO 38,800 40,000 3.1%
FLORIDA 414,400 422,400 1.9%
GEORGIA 176,800 178,400 0.9%
CALIFORNIA 479,600 439,600 -8.3%
WASHINGTON 98,000 88,800 -9.4%
TEXAS 484,400 437,200 -9.7%
LOUISIANA 60,400 54,400 -9.9%
Note: Second-quarter 2011 data is preliminary.

Source: National Association of Realtors.

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