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home_price_peak_DetroitAmong 94 major metro areas analyzed for the report, 33 markets (35 percent) have now reached new all-time home price peaks in 2015, according to RealtyTrac’s recently released October 2015 U.S. Home Sales Report.

The report also shows that the median sales price of U.S. single family homes and condos in October was $207,500, up 1 percent from the previous month and up 10 percent from a year ago—the highest year-over-year percentage increase since February 2014.

The 10-percent increase in October 2015 came following 20 consecutive months of single-digit annual increases in median home sales prices and marked the 44th consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in median home prices. Despite nearly four years of increases, the U.S. median sales price in October was still 9 percent below the previous peak of $228,000 in July 2005.

“Home price appreciation did not go into hibernation in October even as the housing market entered the typically slower fall season,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “More than one-third of the nation’s major housing markets have now reached new home price peaks this year, and nearly 90 percent of markets posted an annual increase in home prices in October. Home sellers are sitting pretty in this market, realizing an average profit-since-purchase of 16 percent—the highest in any month since December 2007, on the cusp of the Great Recession.”

Metro areas that have reached new home price peaks in 2015 include Detroit, which hit a new peak in October with a median sales price of $155,000. Other metros that reached a new price peak in 2015 include Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Portland, San Antonio and Columbus, Ohio.

There were a total of 2,815,704 single family homes and condos sold in the first 10 months of 2015, according to public record sales deeds collected by RealtyTrac. That was a nine-year high for the first 10 months of the year and a 6 percent jump from the same time period in 2014, when there were a total of 2,667,436 single family and condos sold in the first 10 months of the year.

Among 94 major metropolitan statistical areas with 500 or more sales with home price data available in October 2015, 84 (89 percent) saw an increase in sales prices from the previous year, while only 10 metros saw a decline in median sales prices from a year ago.  Those with the biggest annual increase in median sales price were Detroit, Mich. (up 29 percent), Charleston, S.C. (up 17 percent), Denver, Colo. (up 17 percent), St. Louis, Mi. (up 16 percent), Bridgeport, Conn. (up 15 percent) and Cape Coral, Fla. (up 15 percent).

Other major markets with double-digit appreciation compared to a year ago included Palm Bay, Fla. (up 15 percent), Modesto, Calif. (up 14 percent), Raleigh, N.C. (up 14 percent), Washington, D.C. (up 13 percent), Philadelphia, Penn. (up 13 percent), and Ocala, Fla. (up 13 percent).

Share of cash sales increase on monthly basis for third consecutive month

Cash sales may be down from their peak of 41.1 percent in February 2011, but October 2015 saw the share of cash sales increase on a monthly basis for the third consecutive month, with all-cash sales accounting for 28.9 percent of all sales during the month—up from 28.4 percent in the previous month but still down from 30.4 percent a year ago.

Share of cash sales increase on monthly basis for third consecutive month

Cash sales may be down from their peak of 41.1 percent in February 2011, but October 2015 saw the share of cash sales increase on a monthly basis for the third consecutive month, with all-cash sales accounting for 28.9 percent of all sales during the month—up from 28.4 percent in the previous month but still down from 30.4 percent a year ago.

RealtyTrac analyzed 230 metros with at least 10 or more cash sales and at least 100 sales in October 2015 and found that more than half (128 metros) saw a monthly percent increase in cash sales. Metros with the highest share of cash sales included Homosassa Springs, Fla. (61.4 percent), Naples, Fla. (60.1 percent), Columbus, Ga. (54.9 percent), Miami, Fla. (53.7 percent), Greeneville, Tenn. (52.8 percent) and The Villages, Fla. (52.2 percent).

Counties with biggest home seller gains and losses in October 2015

RealtyTrac analyzed 127 counties with at least 500 sales in October 2015 and where home price data was available both on the most recent purchase and the previous purchase. In 15 of those counties (12 percent) home sellers on average in October sold for a lower price than what they purchased for.

Counties where sellers on average sold for the biggest percentage loss were Burlington County, New Jersey in the Philadelphia metro area (13 percent loss), Kane County, Ill. in the Chicago metro (9 percent loss), Shelby County, Tenn. in the Memphis metro area (4 percent loss), Guilford County, N.C. in the Greensboro metro area (4 percent loss), and Cook County, Ill. in the Chicago metro area (4 percent loss).

Counties where sellers on average sold in October for the biggest percentage profit since purchase were Alameda County, California in the San Francisco metro area (75 percent gain), Santa Clara County, Calif. in the San Jose metro area (61 percent gain), San Mateo County, Calif. in the San Francisco metro area (58 percent gain), San Bernardino County, Calif. in the Riverside metro area (52 percent gain), and Multnomah County, Ore. in the Portland metro area (51 percent gain).

Other counties where sellers realized hefty gains in October were Denver County, Colo. (49 percent gain), Travis County, Texas in the Austin metro area (48 percent gain), Contra Costa County, Calif. in the San Francisco metro area (48 percent gain), King County in the Seattle metro area (48 percent gain), and Orange County, Calif. in the Los Angeles metro area (46 percent gain).

Ogden, Visalia and Salt Lake City post highest share of FHA buyers

Buyers using Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans—typically low down payment loans utilized by first time homebuyers and other buyers without equity to bring to the closing table—accounted for 16.1 percent of all single family home and condo sales with financing—excluding all-cash sales—in October 2015, down from 16.9 percent in the previous month but up from 12.6 percent in October 2014.

Metro areas with the highest share of FHA buyers in October 2015 included Ogden, Utah (34.2 percent), Visalia, Calif. (30.9 percent), Salt Lake City, Utah (30.6 percent), Elkhart, Ind. (29.9 percent), Yuma, Ariz. (29.9 percent), and Merced, Calif. (29.5 percent).

Killeen, Columbus, Jacksonville post highest share of institutional investor purchases

Sales of homes to institutional investors—entities that purchase at least 10 properties during a calendar year—accounted for 3.6 percent of all single family home and condo sales in October, unchanged from the previous month but down from 5.5 percent in October 2014.

Among markets with at least 100 or more total sales in October 2015, those with the highest share of institutional investor purchases were Killeen, Texas (12.4 percent), Columbus, Ga. (12.2 percent), Jacksonville, N.C. (11.6 percent), Huntsville, Ala. (10.1 percent), and Memphis, Tenn. (10.1 percent).

“It’s interesting to note that the top four markets for institutional investors are all small- to medium-sized markets near military bases,” Blomquist notes.

Bank-owned sales continue to decline in 2015

In October 2015, 8.1 percent of all sales were bank-owned (REO) single family homes and condos. This was unchanged from the previous month but down from 10.6 percent of all sales in October 2014. The October median sales price of a bank-owned home was $121,000, 42 percent lower than the overall median home sales price during the month.

Metros with the highest share of REO sales in October 2015 were East Stroudsburg, Penn. (31.7 percent), Bakersfield, Calif. (25.5 percent), California, Md. (24.5 percent), Tallahassee, Fla. (20.3 percent) and Jacksonville, Fla. (19.0 percent).

Short sales decrease month over month and year over year

Short sales accounted for 5.2 percent of all single family and condo sales in October, unchanged from the 5.2 percent in the previous month but down from 5.5 percent a year ago.

Markets with the highest share of short sales in October were Salisbury, Md. (13.5 percent), Torrington, Conn. (12.6 percent), Atlantic City, N.J. (12.6 percent), Yuma, Ariz. (11.0 percent), Jacksonville, N.C. (10.8 percent) and Providence, R.I.(10.2 percent).

Markets bucking the national trend with a year-over-year increase in share of short sales included Springfield, Mass., Ocala, Fla., Worcester, Mass., Baton Rouge, La. and Fayetteville, N.C.

For more information and to view accompanying RealtyTrac charts, click here.

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