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Home prices posted solid gains in 2005


Single-family home prices finished 2005 with gains of more than 10 percent for the year, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors.

The median home price in the United States jumped 13.6 percent last year, thanks mostly to big increases over the first three quarters. By the fourth quarter, when the pace of increases slowed, the median home sold for $213,900. Half the homes sold for prices above the median and the rest below.

About half of the markets surveyed -- 72 of 145 -- showed double digit increases. (Click here for a table showing all 145 markets.)

"Although home sales have eased, the tremendous momentum in price appreciation was sustained in the fourth quarter because tight inventories still favored sellers," NAR chief economist David Lereah said in a statement.

The hottest metro market in the United States in 2005 was Phoenix, Ariz., where the median price soared 48.9 percent to $268,400. It barely edged out Cape Coral-Ft. Myers, Fla., where prices soared 48 percent to $293,100.

Florida cities claimed six of the top 10 spots rated by percentage increase with Orlando, Ocala, Tampa, Sarasota, and Daytona all recording gains of 28.5 percent or more.

Others cracking the Top Ten were Tucson, Virginia Beach, and New Orleans. Midwestern towns had many of the poorest performing metro areas, with South Bend real estate prices falling 5.3 percent, the most in the nation.

Some once skyrocketing markets took a breather in 2005. These include San Jose, which at $747,000 is the most expensive U.S. metro area, and rose only 3.7 percent last year. Denver went up 4.4 percent and San Diego, 6.6 percent.

Many of the most expensive metro areas clustered in California. San Francisco homes cost $718,700 and Anaheim houses $699,800. Honolulu was fourth at $620,000 and the New York metro area was eighth at $472,400.

Regionally, the West led all others in house price appreciation, rising 18.2 percent for the year. The Midwest was next at 11 percent, followed by the South at 9.2 percent and the Northeast at 8 percent.

For a look at how condo prices did in 2005, click here.







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