Home prices rise in most markets as sales surge


The surge in sales in the housing market has caused home prices in most metropolitan markets to rise in the first quarter of 1998, according to statistics released by the National Association of Realtors.

The first-quarter median price for an existing home jumped to $125,000, a 5.4 percent increase over the $119,400 mark recorded during the corresponding period in 1997. The median price is the midpoint where half of the homes sell for more and half sell for less.

Champaign, Ill., led a group of 21 metropolitan areas that showed a double-digit increase over last year. Median prices in that city jumped 18.4 percent in the first quarter from $76,500 to $90,600.

The South, including Maryland, showed the biggest regional gain as median home prices rose 8 percent from $102,900 to $111,100.

In the Baltimore metropolitan area, the median price was essentially unchanged from the first quarter of 1997 with a sales price of $115,500. However, it trailed the fourth quarter of 1997, which came in at $117,300.

Pub Date: 5/24/98

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