Home prices dropped in nearly three quarters of U.S. cities over the summer, dragged down by a decline in buyer interest and a high number of foreclosures.
The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that the median price for previously occupied homes fell in the July-September quarter in 111 out of 150 metropolitan areas tracked by the group. Prices are compared with the same quarter from the previous year.
Fourteen cities had double-digit declines. The median price in Mobile, Ala. dropped 17.7 percent, the largest of all declines. Phoenix and Allentown, Pa., Atlanta, Las Vegas and Miami also experienced steep declines.
Eight cities saw double-digit price increases. The largest was in Grand Rapids, Mich., where the median price rose 23.7 percent. South Bend, Ind., Palm Bay, Fla., and Youngstown, Ohio also saw large price increases.
The national median home price was $169,500 in the third quarter, down 4.7 percent from the same period last year.
Most analysts say prices will sink further because unemployment remains high and millions of foreclosures are expected to come onto the market over the next few years.
Sales of previously occupied homes dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in the third quarter, slightly ahead of last year's pace for the same period. Sales were lower than usual for the summer season last year because a federal tax credit inspired more buying in the spring.
This year, sales are on pace to finish behind last year's total, which was the lowest in 13 years.
Sales are low even though the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgages is hovering near 4 percent.
Regionally, the median home price in the Midwest fell 2.2 percent to $142,300 in the quarter from the year before even as sales activity jumped 25 percent. In the South, the median price also slid 2.2 percent to $153,200 and home sales increased 15.5 percent.
The Northeast's median home price dipped 6.5 percent during the period to $236,700 as sales rose from the previous year by 11.6 percent. The median home price in the West dropped 9 percent to $205,700 in the third quarter from a year ago. Sales there increased 16.7 percent.