Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Existing Home Sales by Price Tier

Did You Know: More than 11% of homes sold had a sales price over $500,000, and sales growth was highest among homes in above-median-priced categories.


  • In spite of the price variation by region, when summed to the regional level the median sales price for all regions of the U.S. except the West falls into the $100,000 to $250,000 price range. The West is slightly outside of this range and the Northeast is near the upper edge.
  • The median price is the point at which the middle-priced home sold. By definition, half of homes in an area sold at a higher price and half of homes sold at a lower price than the median. But that’s just one part of the story. We can dig in deeper and look at the distribution of sales by price categories.
  • Doing so, we see that roughly a fifth of homes sold for less than $100,000 a year ago and that share shrank in April 2014 to 17.5 percent.
  • One year ago, homes sold at $500,000 or more were 10.8 percent of the market; they now comprise 11.6 percent of recently sold homes.


  • There are coincident reasons for this trend: 1) sales growth is highest among homes in the highest home price tiers, and 2) home sales are shrinking in the lowest price tier—most likely a result of limited inventory in this price range as would be expected in a housing market where prices are rising.
  • Sales in the lowest price tier fell by 12 percent nationally while sales in higher priced categories were up by 0 to 5 percent from April one year ago.
  • This trend of sales growth at the high end and weakness at the low end is showing signs of waning. It was first spotted in spring 2012 and gained momentum through 2013. Whereas once the increases in sales at the high-end were in double-digits, they have now slowed to mid-single digits.
  • Because indications are that inventories remain more plentiful in higher price tiers, we expect sales growth in the higher price tiers to continue to outpace that in the lower price tiers, but not by the vast margin that we saw in 2013. This is one factor that should contribute to more moderate increases in the median-price home in 2014.


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