Annual U.S. quarterly median prices for existing home sales peaked in the fourth quarter just twice in the past 20-years: 2002 and 2020. In both years, macro events drove the Q4 median price peak anomaly. The first in 2002 was following the atrocity of 911 and 2020 due to the pandemic.
Price peaks in the fourth quarter of 2020 permeated the country, according to an analysis of the latest release of median home data across the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). More than one-half (53.6 percent) of the 183 MSAs tracked and reported by NAR posted the peak annual price in Q4 2020, compared to 18.6 percent, 14.2 percent and 19.1 percent for 2019, 1018 and 2017, respectively.
Not one single MSA posted a decline in median home price from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020. The following two tables show the 40 MSAs posting the greatest and least year-over-year median price gain.