An increasing number of metropolitan housing markets saw prices increase in Q110 compared to the same period one year ago, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In Q110, 91 out of 152 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), median prices for existing single-family houses were higher than in Q109. In addition, 29 MSAs experienced double-digit increases. There were three MSAs with level prices and 58 markets experienced price declines. The latest results are better than in the last quarter of 2009, when 67 markets reported year-over-year price increases and 123 were down. In Q309, 30 markets experienced increases. NAR said the national median price for existing single-family houses was $166,100, down 0.7% from the Q109 price of $167,300. Distressed sales, including REO properties and short sales, accounted for 36% of all home sales in Q110. The national median price for existing condominium housing was $170,700 in Q110, down 0.1% from Q109. NAR said 24 MSAs had increases in median condo prices, while 31 areas had declines. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun credits the homebuyer tax credit for boosting sales in the opening months of the year. “This flattening in home prices is something we’ve been seeing in all of the home price measures lately, and quite clearly in this metro area price report,” Yun said. “The tax credit has been very effective in drawing down excess inventory, with about one million additional sales resulting directly from the stimulus.” During Q110, total existing-home sales, including single-family and condo housing, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.14m, down 14% from 5.97m in Q409 but 11.4% above the rate of 4.61m in Q109. Sales improved year-over-year in 44 states and the District of Columbia (DC), with 31 states and DC experienced double-digit gains. Two states were unchanged and four experienced sales declines. NAR president Vicki Cox Golder said buyers are taking a long-term view toward homeownership. “The typical buyer plans to stay in their home for 10 years, so we’ve put the flipping mentality behind us and most people see housing for what it is — shelter that provides social benefits and is also a good long-term investment,” Golder said. Regionally, the Northeast experienced the largest increase in median price for existing single-family homes. There, prices were up 9% year-over-year to $256,300 in Q110. However, existing sales were down 17.7% from Q409 to an annual rate of 850,000, but are up 19.7% from Q109. In the South, the median sales price for existing single-family homes was $148,200, up 1.1% from Q109. Existing home sales were at an annual rate of 1.89m, down 14.6% from Q409, but up 10.7% from Q109. In the Midwest, the median existing single-family home price declined 0.8% year-over-year to $130,600 in Q110. Existing-home sales in the Midwest dropped 17.3% from Q409 to a pace of 1.13m, but are 10.8% above Q109. The West experienced the biggest decline in home prices. There, the median price for existing single-family homes was $210,200, down 8.3% year-over-year. Existing home sales in the West declined 6.8% from quarter-over-quarter to an annual rate of 1.27m, but are up 8.3% year-over-year. “We see double-digit price increases in the San Francisco Bay region, and in smaller metros in the Northeast,” Yun said. “Price gains in some Midwestern markets are not very meaningful because of comparisons to very high levels of distressed homes that were sold at huge discounts a year ago.” Write to Austin Kilgore.