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Median home prices continue to climb in Reno

RENO, Nev. -- A new report from the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors provides some encouraging news for Washoe County homeowners. The 2014 second quarter report on existing home sales shows median home prices in Washoe County are continuing to climb. The median price is now $240,000, which is up 12-percent from 2013.

"If you're selling your home today, you're in a much better position financially as far as equity is concerned then you were three or four years ago," said Association President Mark Ashworth.

Ashworth also said this is also good news for homeowners with mortgages that were underwater. "A lot of folks who had been in a short sale situation over the last few years now find themselves in a much more comfortable position."

Ashworth added that low inventory is driving prices. "Basic economics will tell you that as supply is limited, value goes up as there are fewer homes on the market for sale."

The increase in median price is not great news for everyone. "Our concern going forward is that while this is great for our sellers and it's great for our market in general, that prices are increasing relative to the median price throughout the market area makes it more difficult for first time home buyers," Ashworth said.

Ashworth also notes the average median income of area residents has not shown an increase in the last ten years. This could make climbing prices more challenging for those wanting to buy a home.

Still, Ashworth said mortgage rates remain low and the new numbers show the housing market is showing signs of rebounding.

Ashworth said today's housing market is much different than just two years ago. "In 2011, about 80-percent of our market was short sales and REO's. Today, that market mix has changed with about 92-percent being regular sales and the remaining 11-percent being short sales and REO's."

He cautioned the rebound is fragile, adding there are many factors on the national level that could adversely impact the area's housing market.