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A Price Point

AP

There’s a lot of data out today on existing home prices across the U.S., and I want to quickly make a little sense of it for you. First we get results from the National Association of Realtors, which reports that the median existing home price in the U.S. is $210,600, down 3.1% from January of 2006. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Next we have the monthly home price index from S&P/Case Shiller. It shows flat returns in certain markets and the continued slowdown in growth in others. U.S. home prices fell 0.7% in the fourth quarter and are up just 0.4% in the past year. But this report goes deeper into local markets, and while it doesn’t have the data coverage that the National Association of Realtors does (40% they claim), “each monthly index combines matched price pairs for thousands of individual houses from the available universe of arms-length sales data,” (S&P/Case Shiller). In other words, it goes house to house in individual markets, rather than taking national medians, which can be skewed by sales at different price points and in different regions of the nation.

Take a look at the markets tracked by S&P/Case Shiller:

PRICE APPRECIATION: DECEMBER 2006-DECEMBER 2005

ATLANTA +2.9%
BOSTON -5.1%
CHARLOTTE +6.7%
CHICAGO +2.7%
CLEVELAND -2.4%
DALLAS +1.1%
DENVER -0.3%
DETROIT -5.9%
LAS VEGAS +0.9%
LOS ANGELES +2.0%
MIAMI +6.1%
MINNEAPOLIS -0.8%
NEW YORK +0.1%
PHOENIX +0.3%
PORTLAND +9.9%
SAN DIEGO -4.2%
SAN FRANCISCO -1.4%
SEATTLE +12.1%
TAMPA +1.8%
WASHINGTON, DC -2.9%

Source: Standard & Poor’s

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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