Canucks grapple with climbing U.S. home prices

According to the Washington-based National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales rose in April and remained above a year ago, while home prices also continued a recent upward trend.

Total existing home sales were up 3.4% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.6 million in April compared to March, and 10% higher than a year ago. The national median existing-home price for all housing types jumped 10.1% to $177,400 in April from a year ago, and up 3.1% from March.

“A diminishing share of foreclosed property sales is helping home values,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Moreover, an acute shortage of inventor yin in certain markets is leading to multiple biddings and escalating price conditions."

Some of the tightest supplies are in Canadian investor favorite locales such as Florida and Arizona.
But foreign investors still hold an advantage, with many Americans are having difficulty coming up with domestic financing due to tougher credit standards.
All-cash transactions made up 29% of the national total in April, although down from 32% in March and 31% from April 2011. Investors accounted for 20% of all home purchases in April, compared to 21% in March and 20% in April 2011.
“It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions,” said Yun. “A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across all price points, and now the recovery seems to be extending to home prices.”

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