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Single-family metro prices continue ascent in third quarter

While affordable mortgage rates and lenient lending qualifications have enabled more Americans to get off the sidelines and into the market to buy a house, home prices continue to ascend the ladder. That being said, they didn't rise quite as substantially during the penultimate quarter of the year as they have in the two other three-month periods gone by, an encouraging sign that suggests conditions are becoming more balanced, according to a newly released survey from the National Association of Realtors.

Between July and the end of September, median existing single-family home values rose in nearly 90 percent of metropolitan statistical areas tracked, NAR reported. Of the 178 MSAs measured, asking prices increased in 154 of them, with only two dozen price points declining when contrasting the third quarter with the same stretch of time last year.

Perhaps the best evidence of gains easing were the smaller number of MSAs in which prices swelled by double-digit figures. In the second to last quarter, asking prices in 21 MSAs increased by 10 percent or more, NAR reported. That's down from 34 MSAs in the immediately previous quarter but up slightly from 16 on a year-over-year basis.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, indicated that the third quarter was 2015's best from a standpoint of buying behavior and market performance.

"The demand for buying picked up speed in many metro areas during the summer as more households entered the market, encouraged by favorable mortgage rates and improving local economies," Yun referenced. "While price growth still teetered near or above unhealthy levels in some markets, the good news is that there was some moderation despite the stronger pace of sales."

Florida home prices exhibit rapid value appreciation
As for concrete residential asking values at the national level, the national median existing single-family home went for approximately $229,000 between July and September, according to NAR's figures. That's an uptick of 5.5 percent versus the third quarter in 2014 and more than 8 percent higher from April to June of this past year.

Yun referenced Florida as being the home state to where many of the metros where home prices rose most appreciably, thanks in part to stronger employment numbers and limited new-home construction.

For single-family existing homes in Florida, the median sales price in the third quarter was an estimated $199,900, nearly 10 percent higher than the same period in 2014, according to data from Florida Realtors.

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