Existing-home sales prices increased in nearly 90 percent of metro areas, but gains were smaller than the previous quarter, according to data released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors.

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Sale prices of existing homes climbed in nearly 90 percent of metro areas during the fourth quarter of 2022 — even as mortgage rates surpassed 7 percent, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.

Approximately 9 out of 10 metropolitan areas across the United States charted price increases in the fourth quarter, according to the real estate trade organization’s “Quarterly Metro Home Prices” report for Q4, released Thursday. Eighteen percent of the 186 metro areas logged double digit price increases compared to the previous year, down from 46 percent in the third quarter, the new data shows.

The median sale price for single-family existing homes in the U.S. climbed 4 percent — to $378,700 — in a quarter when mortgage rates hit 20-year highs. That increase represented a deceleration when compared to the previous quarters 8.6 percent increase.

Approximately 1 in 1o (20 of 186) markets experienced price decreases in the same period, according to NAR.

“A slowdown in home prices is underway and welcomed, particularly as the typical home price has risen 42% in the past three years,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Far fewer metro markets experienced double-digit price gains in the latest quarter.”

A regional breakdown from the report shows that metros in the South had the largest share of existing-home sales in the fourth quarter, with 45 percent of sales, and a year-over-year price appreciation of 4.9 percent. Prices grew 5.3 percent in the Northeast, 4 percent in the Midwest and 2.6 percent in the West.

Seven of the top 10 metropolitan areas with the largest annual price increase were in either Florida or the Carolinas, the report found. Farmington, New Mexico, boasted the largest annual price increase, rising by 20.3 percent.

Farmington was followed by North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, where prices increased by 19.5 percent and Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island Florida, where they charted a 17.2 percent increase.

While high mortgage rates across the fourth quarter kept many buyers on the sidelines, prices continued to appreciate due to tight supply, Yun said.

“Even with a projected reduction in home sales this year, prices are expected to remain stable in the vast majority of the markets due to extremely limited supply,” Yun added. “Moreover, there are signs that buyers are returning as mortgage rates decline, even with inventory levels near historic lows.”

Email Ben Verde

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