Prices and sales of previously occupied U.S. homes improved during the last three months of last year as low interest rates and a federal tax credit helped push buyers into the market, the National Assn. of Realtors said Thursday.
The median price of previously owned single-family homes rose in 67, or 44%, of the 151 metropolitan areas that participated in the group's fourth-quarter survey. Sixteen of the areas posted double-digit increases.
In the third quarter, with 153 areas reporting, only 30 showed price increases and 123 were down. The median is the point at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
The national median price for resold single-family homes was $172,900, a 2.9% increase from the third quarter but a decline of 4.1% from 2008's fourth quarter.