Home sales rose in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., in the third quarter, though median prices fell in the vast majority of metropolitan areas covered by the National Association of Realtors in its latest quarterly report.

Of 150 metro areas, 111 (74 percent) saw the median sales price of existing single-family homes decline in third-quarter 2011 compared to third-quarter 2010. The remaining 39 metros saw price gains.

Nationally, the median sales price fell 4.7 percent year over year, to $169,500 — a steeper annual decline than that seen in the second quarter (down 2.8 percent). In its latest forecast, NAR expects median existing-home prices to decline 4 percent this year compared to 2010.

The trade group also expects existing-home sales to increase by 1 percent this year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.955 million.

Total U.S. existing-home sales — which include single-family homes, condominiums and co-ops — rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in the third quarter.

That’s a 17 percent jump compared to third-quarter 2010, when sales tumbled following the expiration of a federal homebuyer tax credit program. Sales remained essentially flat compared to the second quarter.

Distressed homes, typically sold at a discount compared to traditional homes, accounted for 30 percent of sales in the third quarter, down from 34 percent in third-quarter 2010, the report said. First-timers made up 32 percent of buyers, down from 34 percent at the same time a year ago.

Cash buyers and investors accounted for about the same share of purchases as in third-quarter 2010: 29 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

Regionally, the Midwest saw the biggest annual jump in sales, up 25.1 percent to an annual level of 1.08 million. Of the 10 states with the largest year-over-year increases in sales in the third quarter, half are in the Midwest.

State Q3 2010 Q3 2011 % Chg.
NORTH DAKOTA 9,200 12,800 39.1%
UTAH 22,000 30,400 38.2%
NEBRASKA 24,400 33,200 36.1%
IDAHO 28,400 38,000 33.8%
IOWA 40,000 53,200 33.0%
WISCONSIN 59,600 77,200 29.5%
DELAWARE 8,400 10,800 28.6%
VERMONT 8,400 10,800 28.6%
OKLAHOMA 58,800 74,800 27.2%
SOUTH DAKOTA 12,000 15,200 26.7%

Source: National Association of Realtors.

The region’s median sales price fell 2.2 percent year over year to $142,300 — tied with the South for the smallest regional decrease. Of the 10 metro areas with the highest price increases, six are in the Midwest.

Metro area Q3 2010 Q3 2011 % Chg.
Grand Rapids, Mich. $89,900 $111,200 23.7%
South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind. $79,100 $94,800 19.8%
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. $93,100 $109,600 17.7%
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. $60,400 $68,300 13.1%
Green Bay, Wis. $120,500 $135,700 12.6%
Canton-Massillon, Ohio $79,500 $88,700 11.6%
Peoria, Ill. $119,400 $132,600 11.1%
Binghamton, N.Y. $109,000 $120,500 10.6%
Jackson, Miss. $129,500 $139,400 7.6%
Spartanburg, S.C. $115,500 $124,100 7.4%

Note: Data for third-quarter 2011 is preliminary.

Source: National Association of Realtors.

In the South, sales rose 15.5 percent to 1.89 million. Of the 10 areas to see the smallest increases in sales, half are in the South, including Washington, D.C.

State Q3 2010 Q3 2011 % Chg.
VIRGINIA 102,400 106,000 3.5%
Washington, D.C. 8,000 8,400 5.0%
HAWAII 18,800 20,000 6.4%
CALIFORNIA 442,800 475,600 7.4%
CONNECTICUT 38,000 40,800 7.4%
WEST VIRGINIA 24,800 27,200 9.7%
MARYLAND 64,000 70,400 10.0%
FLORIDA 348,800 385,600 10.6%
WYOMING 7,200 8,000 11.1%
MASSACHUSETTS 86,000 96,400 12.1%

Source: National Association of Realtors.

The South’s median sales price declined by 2.2 percent to $153,200.

Sales in the West increased 16.7 percent to 1.14 million. The region saw the biggest median price drop, 9 percent.

Of the 14 metro areas to see double-digit price declines, six are in the South and five are in the West.

Metro area Q3 2010 Q3 2011 % Chg.
Mobile, Ala. $120,000 $98,800 -17.7%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. $138,000 $113,700 -17.6%
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J. $234,900 $193,800 -17.5%
Salt Lake City $215,600 $182,600 -15.3%
Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss. $118,100 $103,100 -12.7%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Fla. $214,800 $187,600 -12.7%
Rockford, Ill. $110,700 $96,900 -12.5%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. $215,000 $190,000 -11.6%
Tucson, Ariz. $148,100 $131,100 -11.5%
Akron, Ohio $105,700 $93,600 -11.4%
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Md.-W.Va.  $143,800 $127,700 -11.2%
Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. $138,100 $122,700 -11.2%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. $113,500 $101,900 -10.2%
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif. $547,500 $491,900 -10.2%

Note: Data for third-quarter 2011 is preliminary.

Source: National Association of Realtors.

Sales in the Northeast saw the smallest increase, 11.6 percent, to an annual rate of 770,000. The region saw its median price drop 6.5 percent to $236,700.

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