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Home Prices Fell Further in First Quarter, Realtors Say

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AP

The median value of existing U.S. single-family home sales in metropolitan areas fell 7.7 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

The quarterly survey of metro region prices also showed that median prices in 100 of 149 metro areas fell in the first quarter of 2008.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condominiums, fell 22.2 percent from the first quarter of 2007, the report showed.

A proportionately larger slowdown in home sales from a year ago in high-cost markets is continuing to drag down the aggregate national median price, the Realtors' association said.

In the first quarter, the median existing single-family home stood at $196,300, down from the $212,600 median for the first quarter of 2007, the group said.

In the first quarter, 48 out of 149 metropolitan statistical areas showed higher median existing single-family home prices from a year earlier, 100 had price declines and one was unchanged.

"These are highly unusual results because there were very few jumbo loan originations in the latest quarter, so sales are much slower in high-cost areas," Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist, said in a statement.

"Neighborhoods with little subprime (mortgage) exposure are holding on very well, while prices have fallen in neighborhoods with a wide prevalence of subprime loans because more foreclosed properties are being sold at discounted prices," Yun said.

The National Association of Realtors reports on the pace of existing homes sales in the United States on a monthly basis and in the metropolitan regions on a quarterly basis.