U.S. sales volume improves, but prices drop

Most metropolitan areas experienced annual price declines in home prices in the third quarter, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors. In 111 of the 150 metro areas it tracks, the NAR found price declines, compared to 109 experiencing annual declines in the second quarter.

But seasonally adjusted sales volume increased 17 percent compared to the prior year quarter, though it slipped a tenth of a percent from the second quarter rate.

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“Home sales need to recover first — only then can prices stabilize. Existing home sales are little changed from the second quarter but are notably higher than a year ago,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR. “The good news is inventory levels have been trending gradually down.”

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach market proved no exception to the national trend, as sales prices for single-family homes stumbled 12.7 percent, while prices for condos and co-ops plummeted 1.3 percent.

Nationally, the median existing single-family home price was $169,500 in the third quarter, down 4.7 percent from a year ago. — Adam Fusfeld