While home prices slowed their climb in much of the country, the Midwest rallied the nation, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors. The association noted that though metro market prices were up 3.9 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019 nationally, they did increase at a slower pace than the previous quarter. But that 3.9 percent gain was matched perfectly in the Midwest, where the median existing single-family home price made it up to $194,100. Meanwhile, the South only increased by 2.5 percent, the West by 3.5 percent and the Northeast 3.7 percent.
Despite a bright picture in our region, however, the increase was much more modest in Chicagoland, rising only 1.4 percent over last year’s numbers to $245,400. Still, those worried that the Chicagoland area is becoming too expensive may take heart in the fact that prices in the local metropolitan statistical area are still almost $10,000 below the national average of $254,800. Interestingly, the lowest-cost metro area in the national report in the fourth quarter was in Illinois, but it was all the way out in Decatur at $80,800.
The discrepancies from market to market could encourage more Americans to move, according to the association. “There are vast home price differences among metro markets,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist in a release accompanying the report. “The condition of extremely high home prices may not be sustainable in light of many alternative metro markets that are much more affordable. Therefore, a shift in job search and residential relocations into more affordable regions of the country is likely in the future.”
Yun also highlighted the fact that even with these more modest gains, property owners are still benefiting from their investments. “Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth. A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year,” he said.