US home price gains rise in the fourth quarter



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.

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