'A great year to be a seller' as profits hit 13-year high: Attom

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With housing prices continuing their years-long climb, home sellers cashed in on their highest returns since 2006, according to Attom Data Solutions.

Compared to the original prices paid, homeowners made an average of $65,500 or 34% return on investment per home sale in 2019. Those figures rose from $58,100 and 31.4% a year earlier and leaped above the negative return of $37,523 or 19% loss in 2010.

"The nation's housing boom kept roaring along in 2019 as prices hit a new record, returning ever-higher profits to home sellers and posing ever-greater challenges for buyers seeking bargains. In short, it was a great year to be a seller," Todd Teta, chief product officer at Attom Data Solutions, said in a press release. "But there were signs that the market was losing some steam last year, as profits and profit margins increased at the slowest pace since 2011. While low mortgage rates are propping up prices, the declining progress suggests some uncertainty going into the 2020 buying season."

While profits increased for eight consecutive years, the growth curve is leveling off and could be pointing to a course reversal starting in the not-so-distant future.

For housing markets with populations above 200,000, the biggest profit margins all came from the West Coast. The top four by ROI stayed static compared with 2018, led by San Jose, Calif., at 82.8%, then San Francisco at 72.8%, Seattle at 65.6% and Merced, Calif., at 63.2%.

The overall U.S. median home price reached a new peak of $258,000 in 2019. That sustained growth amounted to 6.2%, up from 4.5% in 2018. About 78% of metro areas over 200,000 in population also hit their individual peak median prices. South Bend, Ind.'s 18.4% gain was the largest year-over-year increase, followed by increases of 12.6% in Boise, Idaho, and 10.9% in Spokane, Wash.

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Home prices Housing market Purchase Mortgage rates Attom Data Solutions