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Home Sales & Prices Up in August

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Residential property prices and sales continued to recover in August, according to RealtyTrac’s monthly residential and foreclosure sales report.

Sales volume of single-family homes, condos and townhomes increased 2% from July, at an annualized pace of 5.6 million. That’s a 12% increase from August 2012, which was at 5 million. Additionally, the national median sales price increased for the 17th month in a row to $175,000, up 3% from last month and 6% from a year ago.

The median price of foreclosed or bank-owned properties also increased slightly (1%) from July, but the $116,000 price in August is a 3% decrease from last year, the sixth month of annual decrease in this category.

Americans Continue to Buy With Cash

A news release on the report noted the strength of cash sales and purchases by institutional investors, which account for a great deal of the continued growth in sales volume and home values.

The same was true in July, though the shares of cash and investor purchases continued to rise in August. Cash sales were up to 45% of all sales in August, from 39% in July, and investor purchases accounted for 10% in August, a monthly increase of 1 percentage point.

In a conversation about the July report, RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said the rise of interest rates may have accounted for the spike in cash sales, as some non-cash buyers can no longer afford to be homebuyers. Interest rates have declined in September, after the Federal Reserve surprisingly did not announce plans to taper its stimulus measures. It will be interesting to see how cash sales fare in the next report.

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Among metro areas with a population of 1 million or more, the top five cities for cash sales were in Florida, Nevada and Michigan: Miami (69% of all sales), Detroit (68%), Las Vegas (66%), Jacksonville, Fla. (65%) and Tampa, Fla. (64%).

Las Vegas was also among the metro areas with the greatest increase in median home prices, and Nevada was No. 2 among states for that same metric. California saw the greatest increase in year-over-year median home prices (up 32%), followed by Nevada (26%), Georgia (21%), Arizona (20%) and New York (19%).

Notably, Nevada was also in the top five for short sales (34% of all sales), sales of bank owned homes (22%). And of the 42 states in this report, Nevada was one of only three to report a decline in sales volume, along with California and Arizona.

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