Nearly half of the metropolitan areas tracked by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed modest increases in single-family home prices compared to last year. NAR’s latest survey  showed that 77 of 155 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) had higher median existing home prices in the third quarter of 2010 than the third quarter of 2009. Eleven of those had increases in the double digits. In 2009 third-quarter survey, only 30 MSAs had home price increases compared to the same quarter in 2008.
Two MSAs had no change in median home prices, and the remaining 76 had decreases compared to last year.
Only one of the NAR’s four regions—the Northeast—had an increase in median price compared to the third quarter of 2009, according to the survey. Median single-family home prices there rose 2.5 percent to $253,400. Median prices dropped three percent, to $145,600, in the Midwest; 1.9 percent, to $157,000, in the South; and 0.4 percent, to $224,800, in the West. In the nation as a whole, the median home price dropped to $177,900, down 0.2 percent from the third-quarter 2009 median price of $178,200.
The survey also reported that there have been 3.79 million existing home sales in the U.S. this year to date. Of these, 34 percent were distressed homes sales, which usually sell at discounted prices. At the same time last year, 3.77 existing home sales had taken place; 30 percent were distressed homes.