Process Improvement Column: Median Home Prices Are Jumping

ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q3 2019 U.S. Home Sales Report, which shows that single-family homes and condos sold for a median price of $270,000 in the third quarter, up 2.9 percent from the previous quarter and up 8.3 percent from a year ago — reaching a new high.

Meanwhile, the report shows that homeowners who sold in the third quarter earned a median profit that ticked up to a post-recession high of 34.5 percent, up from 34.4 percent in Q2 2019 and 34.3 percent from Q3 2018.

Average homeownership tenure hit a new high of 8.19 years, up 3 percent from last quarter and up 3 percent from Q3 2018. Homeownership tenure averaged 4.20 years nationwide between Q1 2000 and Q3 2007, prior to the Great Recession.

“The seven-year U.S. housing boom is back in high gear. After a series of relatively small price increase quarters, home prices saw quite the uptick, seller profits rose and the problem of distressed sales continued to fade, helping to make the third quarter the strongest in four years,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. “That all happened as mortgage rates sank back to near-historic lows, which clearly powered the market upward along with stock market surges and a continued strong economy. There had been signs before the latest surge of a cooling market, but they seem to have diminished, at least for now.”

Annual home prices rising in major markets

Median home prices increased year-over-year in 148 of the 155 metro areas analyzed in the report (95 percent) in the third quarter of 2019, led by Lansing, MI (25.1 percent increase); Green Bay, WI (18.1 percent increase); Johnson City, TN (16.7 percent increase); Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC (13.7 percent increase) and Spokane, WA (13.5 percent increase).

Metro areas with at least 1 million people that saw the greatest annual home price appreciation in the third quarter of 2019 included Philadelphia, PA (12.3 percent increase); Jacksonville, FL (10.8 percent increase); Detroit, MI (10.6 percent increase); Salt Lake City, UT (9.8 percent increase) and Milwaukee, WI (9.8 percent increase).

Only three major metros saw annual price drops: Kansas City, MO-KS (9.4 percent decrease); San Jose, CA (3.3 percent decrease) and Hartford, CT (0.3 percent decrease).

Prices in four of every five metros now above pre-recession peaks

Median home prices in 122 of the 155 metro areas analyzed in the report (79 percent) were above pre-recession peaks in the third quarter of 2019, led by Kennewick, WA (99 percent above); Greeley, CO (89 percent above); Shreveport, LA (84 percent above); Denver, CO (79 percent above) and Nashville, TN (75 percent above).

Metro areas other than Denver and Nashville with at least 1 million people and Q3 2019 median home prices at least 50 percent above pre-recession levels included Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (73 percent above); Austin, TX (73 percent above); San Antonio, TX (62 percent above); Houston, TX (55 percent above) and Oklahoma City, OK (52 percent above).

Average home seller gains continue to increase

U.S. homeowners who sold in the third quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $68,686, up from an average gain of $66,995 in Q2 2019 and up from an average gain of $63,750 in Q3 2018. The average home seller gain of $68,686 in Q3 2019 represented an average 34.5 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price.

Among the 164 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed, those with the highest average home seller returns in Q3 2019 were San Jose, CA (82.2 percent); San Francisco, CA (72.0 percent); Seattle, WA (64.9 percent); Salem, OR (60.6 percent) and Salt Lake City, UT (59.6 percent).