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Old 05-16-2006, 09:46 PM
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Post Metropolitan Phoenix led the nation in home price gains again, despite the cool down

Metropolitan Phoenix led the nation in home price gains again, despite the market's cool-down in the past six months.

The cost of an existing Valley home climbed 38.4 percent in the past year. The closest city to rival Phoenix was Orlando, which saw a 34 percent jump between the first quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of 2006. Nationally, the median price of a used home climbed 10.3 percent in that time to reach $217,900, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That's about $50,000 less than the median price here.

Metropolitan Phoenix's price growth was fueled by record increases during the first half of last year. During the last quarter of 2005 and first quarter of 2006 combined, Valley home prices climbed less than 1 percent, the Realtors said.

Valley home prices aren't expected to jump again soon. During the first four months of this year, existing home sales were down 34 percent from last year's record pace. In April, the number of homes for sale in metropolitan Phoenix hit a high of 38,000. Home price gains will be in the single digits by the second quarter of this year, said David Lereah, chief economist for the Realtors' group.

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