U.S. Home Prices Climbed 5.7% in First Quarter From Prior Year

U.S. home prices rose 5.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier as buyers competed for a limited supply of listings.

Prices climbed 1.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous three months, the 19th consecutive quarterly gain, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a report Wednesday from Washington.

Home prices have risen as job growth brings out more buyers in a market starved for choices. There were 1.98 million houses for sale at the end of March, down 1.5 percent from the same month last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. While the U.S. has a whole had robust gains, prices fell from the previous quarter in 12 states and the District of Columbia, the FHFA said.

“Home price appreciation was somewhat less widespread than in recent quarters,” Andrew Leventis, FHFA’s supervisory economist, said in a statement. While price drops were modest, “such declines are notable given the pervasive and extraordinary appreciation we have been observing for many years.”

Prices in March rose 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from February, the FHFA said. The average estimate of 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 0.5 percent gain.

The FHFA index measures transactions for single-family properties financed with mortgages owned or securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It doesn’t provide specific prices. The national median price of an existing single-family home was $217,600 in the first quarter, up 6.3 percent from a year earlier, National Association of Realtors data show.

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