Wednesday, May 13, 2009

U.S. Median House Price Declines 14%

The median price for a single-family house fell 14% to $169,000 in the first quarter from a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors reported.

The trade group said first-time home buyers accounted for half of all purchases in the quarter, and many of them zeroed in on foreclosed homes. That dragged down the median, the Realtors said.

The median price for the latest quarter is down 26% from a peak of $227,600 in the third quarter of 2005. The latest median price was down from a year earlier in 134 of the 152 metro areas included in the survey.

The biggest increase was in the Cumberland area of Maryland and West Virginia, where the median price climbed 21% to $114,900. Debbie Grimm, manager of the Long & Foster real-estate brokerage in Cumberland, Md., said the area is attracting retirees and second-home buyers, particularly from Washington and Baltimore.

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