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RealtyTrac: Residential home sales volume down, prices up in July

RealtyTrac's July 2014 U.S Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report shows U.S. residential properties, including single family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual pace of 4,634,513 in July, down 3 percent from the previous month and down 12 percent from a year ago. This was the third consecutive month where annualized sales volume has decreased on a year-over-year basis.

The median price of U.S. residential properties sold in July -- including both distressed and non-distressed sales -- was $191,000, up 3 percent from the previous month, and up 12 percent from a year ago to the highest level since September 2008, a 70-month high.

"As distressed sales continue to decline, the share of sales is tilting toward more expensive homes, boosting the nationwide median sales price," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. "The nationwide home price increase, however, masks slowing home price appreciation in the majority of housing markets across the country. This slowing appreciation was expected and provides another sign that the real estate recovery thus far is behaving rationally. Still, the housing market is entering a dicey transition phase where it is becoming much more reliant on first-time homebuyers and move-up buyers to sustain the recovery as investor involvement wanes."

San Diego was one of seven markets where annual home price appreciation in July dropped to single digits from double digits a year ago, and also bucked the national trend with a year-over-year increase in share of REO, or bank-owned, sales.

"Coastal areas in Southern California that were first to rebound from the distressed-heavy market last year are slowing to more long-term sustainable growth," said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. "Other areas have finally worked through their distressed inventory and are seeing significant price increases while the pent up demand for new inventory by inventors, flippers and prospective home buyers is prevalent."

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