Home price trends are improving in metropolitan areas, but existing-home sales in the second quarter were below those of a year earlier in most states, according to the latest quarterly survey by the National Association of Realtors.In the second quarter, 97 of 149 metropolitan statistical areas showed year-over-year increases in median single-family resale prices, while 50 recorded price declines and two were unchanged. The national median single-family resale price stood at $223,800 in the second quarter, down from $227,100 a year earlier. "Although home prices are relatively flat, more metro areas are showing price gains with general improvement since bottoming out in the fourth quarter of 2006," said NAR senior economist Lawrence Yun. "Recent mortgage disruptions will hold back sales temporarily, but the fundamental momentum clearly suggests stabilizing price trends in many local markets." However, Andrew Jakabovics, associate director of the Economic Mobility Program at the Center for American Progress, argues that the picture is not so promising. "When we factor in inflation since last year, only 53 metro areas saw gains in house prices, significantly less than the 97 markets touted by the NAR's press release," said Mr. Jakabovics. ".... [T]he odds are good that the gains that have been made in some markets will be whittled away in the release of July's new-construction and existing-home sales data later this month."

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