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With critical inventory levels persisting, there have been fewer home sales to show for the year—and, with that, elevated home prices, according to the latest National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) quarterly report.

Across major markets in the third quarter of the year, the existing-home median price rose to $266,900—on an annual basis, an increase of 4.8 percent. From Q2 2017 to Q2 2018, notedly, prices rose 4.9 percent.

By the close of the quarter, there were 1.88 million existing-home listings on the market—a 1.1 percent bump from Q3 2017, according to the report. There was an average 4.3-months’ supply.

“Though inventory is more than adequate on the upper-end market, the insufficient supply of low- to mid-priced homes in metro markets with strong job growth continues to drive up prices and push prospective buyers out of the market,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR.

“A strong economy and consistent job growth should be driving up home sales; however, would-be homebuyers are struggling to find a home they can afford,” Yun says. “As mortgage rates continue to rise—reaching the decade’s highest rates this quarter—an increase in the supply of affordable homes has become even more important to help temper price growth across the country.”

Additional highlights from Q3:

  • Ninety-three percent of the major markets measured (166 of 178 metros) had prices rise year-over-year, with 10 percent in double-digit territory.
  • The average homebuyer with a 5 percent down payment needed to earn $64,480 to afford a home at the median (nationally); the average homebuyer with a 10 percent down payment needed to earn $61,086; and the average homebuyer with a 20 percent down payment needed to earn $54,299.
  • The costliest housing markets were: San Jose, Calif. ($1.3 million, existing-home median); San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. ($989,000); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. ($830,000); Honolulu, Hawaii ($818,000); and San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. ($650,000).
  • The most inexpensive markets were: Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio ($97,600); Decatur, Ill. ($102,800); Cumberland, Md. ($110,300); Wichita Falls, Texas ($115,600); and Elmira, N.Y. ($121,600).
  • In the Midwest, the existing-home median price was $206,800, up 2.1 percent year-over-year.
  • In the Northeast, the existing-home median price was $301,500, up 6.1 percent year-over-year.
  • In the South, the existing-home median price was $234,300, up 3.4 percent year-over-year.
  • In the West, the existing-home median price was $395,500, up 4.8 percent year-over-year.

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DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark