Home-price growth is slowing even as the sales of homes under $200,000 slip and the share of home sales above the $500,000 price point grow, according to the August home report from RealtyTrac.
Residential properties, including single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual pace of 4,508,559 in August, down one-half% from the previous month and down 16% from a year ago — the fourth consecutive month where annualized sales volume has decreased on a year-over-year basis.
The median price of U.S. residential properties sold in August — including both distressed and non-distressed sales — was $195,000, up 3% from the previous month, and up 15% from a year ago to the highest level since August 2008, a six-year high.
“Higher-end properties are taking up a bigger share of a smaller home sales pie, boosting the median home price nationwide higher even as home price appreciation slows to single digits in many of last year’s red-hot local housing markets,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “On the other hand, markets where large institutional investors and other buyers have not picked clean lower-priced inventory are continuing to see strong, double-digit increases in median home prices.”
The share of sales in the $200,000-and-below price range was down 9% from a year ago, while the share of sales in the above-$200,000 price range increased 10% from a year ago.
Among 197 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more and with sufficient sales data, 124 (63%) saw lower annual home price appreciation in August 2014 compared to August 2013.
Home price appreciation slowed in 36 of the nation’s 50 largest markets (72%) and in 18 of the nation’s 20 largest markets (90%).
“We continue to see the traditional housing cycle this year with most of the price appreciation happening in the spring and early summer months,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. “Inventory in the Southern California coastal markets has become far more balanced, giving buyers a good level of choice and a moderate amount of negotiating room.”