Home price gains accelerated in the fourth quarter, with increases reported in 89 percent of US metropolitan areas, as competition heated up for a record-low supply of listings, the National Association of Realtors said.
The median price of an existing single-family home rose from a year earlier in 158 of the 178 areas measured, the group said in a report Thursday. In the third quarter, 87 percent of metropolitan areas had price increases. Thirty-one regions had gains of 10 percent of more in the three months through December, up from 25 in the third quarter.
Job growth is fueling demand in a market starving for listings. The number of previously owned homes available for sale at the end of December dropped 6.3 percent from a year earlier to 1.65 million, the fewest since the Realtors group started tracking the data in 1999. It would take 3.9 months to sell those homes, down from 4.6 months a year earlier.
In the fourth quarter, the national median single-family home price was $235,000, up 5.7 percent from a year earlier, the Realtors group said.