From the APP:
Prices for single-family homes climbed in half of U.S. cities in the first quarter as real estate markets stabilized. But in the region that includes Monmouth and Ocean counties, they fell 3.6 percent.
The median sales price increased from a year earlier in 74 of 146 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said in a report Wednesday. In the fourth quarter, only 29 areas had gains.
The U.S. housing market is showing signs of bottoming as improving employment and record-low mortgage rates boost demand while inventories of available properties tighten. At the end of March, 2.37 million previously owned homes were available for sale, 22 percent fewer than a year earlier, the Realtors said.
“The housing market is still depressed but it had a good quarter,” Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “We’re on the mend but it’s still something that will take two or three years before we’re back to normal.”
The national median existing single-family home price was $158,100 in the first quarter, down 0.4 percent from the first three months of 2011, according to the Realtors group.
In the Edison market, which includes Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Somerset counties, the median was $292,400, down from $303,200 in the same period a year ago.
Similar tales were found in other New Jersey markets. Parts of northern New Jersey sell 3.2 percent to $363,800, and the newark-Union area fell 9.6 percent to $326,000. The Camden region fell 2.8 percent to $193,500 and the Trenton region fell 6 percent to $205,500. The Atlantic City region saw the only increase in the state, rising 3.7 percent to $220,600.