The median price of properties for sale in America has increased each month for the past two years.

At the end of March 2014, the median sales price of residential properties rose by 1 percent, which is an increase of 10 percent over March 2013, according to data recently published by the real estate research and information firm RealtyTrac.

Over the past 24 months, home values have grown, which translates to a median selling price of $164,500, and the period from March 2013 to March 2014 showed the highest annual jump in that time.

property prices increasing in the USAThe vice president of RealtyTrac, Daren Blomquist said, “The housing market showed signs of coming out of hibernation in March after a sluggish fall and winter.

Median home prices increased on a monthly basis following six consecutive months where they were flat or declining and increased on an annual basis by the biggest percentage since hitting bottom in March 2012.”

In addition to the price increase, the volume of properties for sale in America has also shown growth. From February 2014 to March 2014, sales volume was up by 0.4 percent, which is an increase of 8 percent over the past year. However, volume decreased four months straight before this. In addition, median prices are still down after hitting a peak in August, and annual sales are down from a peak that occurred last October.

Distressed Property Sales Increase

Distressed property sales in the U.S. also increased from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014. The number of distressed sales increased nationally, and on a state-by-state basis, 38 of the 50 states showed an increase. This is helping to raise the inventory in many markets that had been considered low for several years, and homeowners with non-distressed homes are building equity, which is also helping to solve the inventory shortage.

One interesting fact about the statistics presented by RealtyTrac is that in March, 34 percent of all sales were made to property investors or buyers who already owned at least one home. In addition, 7 percent of sales during the month were multi-parcel transactions, which occur when multiple properties are sold to the same buyer at one time and are included on a single deed. These types of transactions are usually not reported on any of the multiple listing services (MLS).

Even though the country as a whole showed an increase in sales volume last month, volume decreased from last year in six states and 21 large metropolitan areas. The six states that showed decreases were Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada and Rhode Island. The metropolitan areas that declined include several cities in California:

  • San Jose – 18 percent
  • San Francisco – 14 percent
  • Los Angeles – 14 percent
  • Sacramento – 13 percent
  • San Diego – 12 percent
  • Riverside-San Bernardino – 11 percent

Other metropolitan areas that showed decreases in property sales volume are as follows:

  • Rochester, New York – 14 percent
  • Orlando, Florida – 12 percent
  • Las Vegas, Nevada – 12 percent
  • Providence, Rhode Island – 12 percent
  • Phoenix, Arizona – 11 percent
  • Hartford, Connecticut – 10 percent
  • Boston, Massachusetts – 8 percent

Large Improvement in Cheaper Properties

Even though property prices increased over the last year for the nation as a whole, prices in some markets have skyrocketed, and the largest gains were made in markets at the low end of the spectrum. In San Francisco, prices are up by 94 percent over prices in March 2009, which includes an increase of 36 percent in the last year alone. However, prices are still down by 39 percent after peaking in June 2013.

Sales prices in Detroit are up by 92 percent from May 2009, and last month showed a major increase of 29 percent over the previous year. However, these prices are down after peaking in October 2013. Similar situations occurred in several other cities. In Phoenix, the median home price is up by 59 percent from March 2011 and by 13 percent from last year, but it is down by 30 percent from a peak in April 2013. The median price increased in Atlanta by 41 percent from February 2012 and 20 percent from last year, but it decreased by 27 percent since December 2013.

In the first quarter of 2014, distressed and short sales comprised 16 percent of the market, which is up from 15 percent in the last quarter of 2013. The metropolitan areas with the highest share of these sales were Las Vegas at 42 percent, Stockton at 35 percent, Detroit at 34 percent, Cleveland at 34 percent and Dayton at 33 percent.