• Robert A. Silva

US home prices jump at record rate

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Home prices are on the up, but that may lead to trouble in the future.

The median cost of a single-family home jumped 12 percent in the third quarter to $313,500, marking the biggest year-over-year increase since 2013, according to data from the National Association of Realtors that was first reported by Bloomberg.

Buyers have been motivated by low mortgage interest rates, but the jump in prices has fueled concerns about the country’s affordable housing crisis. “Favorable mortgage rates will continue to bring fresh buyers to the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “However, the affordability situation will not improve even with low interest rates because housing prices are increasing much too fast.”

Concerns about social distancing, along with an uptick in remote work, have also created greater demand for homes in areas with more space.

The demand has put pressure on housing supply: The total number of homes on the market at the end of last quarter — 1.47 million — was almost 20 percent lower than the same time last year, NAR said. By the group’s calculation, it would take 2.7 months to sell that inventory at the current pace.

The most expensive metro areas to buy homes in are primarily on the West Coast, including San Jose, San Francisco and Anaheim in California. Two East Coast areas — Bridgeport, Connecticut and Boston — made it into the top ten.

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