Inventory is up and prices climbed more slowly in metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to data from the National Association of Realtors released Tuesday. The median existing single-family home price, meanwhile, climbed 4 percent year-over-year to $257,600.
“Home prices continued to rise in the vast majority of markets but with inventory steadily increasing, home prices are, on average, rising at a slower and healthier pace,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.
Total existing home-sale dropped 1.8 percent from last quarter and 7.4 percent lower year-over-year to a rate of 5.180 million. It’s been especially stark in the Western United States, where more homes need to be built, Yun said.
“The West region, where home prices have nearly doubled in six years, is undergoing the biggest shift with the slowest price gain and large buyer pullback,” Yun added.
There were 1.55 million existing homes on the market at the conclusion of the fourth quarter, a 6.2 percent year-over-year increase. The total inventory represents 4 months supply, up from 3.5 months at the end of 2017.
While the national median family income rose to $77, 392 in the fourth quarter, affordability decreased due to higher mortgage rates and home prices, according to NAR.
For the purpose of the study, NAR uses the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s definition of a metropolitan statistic area. A list of counties considered metro areas can be found here.