Trends in Median Individual Home Price by MSA (1990-2021)

Let’s take a look at how prices for single family homes have changed over time. To do this, we will examine nominal home prices to determine the movement of real home price values ​​and estimate home prices, taking into account the Consumer Price Index to determine real price increases. In addition, we will look at the average length of home ownership – ten years – and determine the gains or losses that homeowners have experienced when buying and selling. This blog will investigate data from 1990 to 2021, with a detailed look at the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and a specific look at the 10 most densely populated statistical areas as identified by the American Community Survey (2019 1-Year estimates).

The National Association of Realtors® provides median single-family home price data by MSA. Unavailable data were approximated using the Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

This post will explain what kind of expectations buyers and sellers should have regarding home prices in some of the most populous metro areas and how often they can expect a positive investment in a single family home.

Median trends in single-family home prices (1990-2021)

This research includes only the 50 most populous MSAs as determined by population size from the 2019 American Community Survey estimates. The Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was used to identify unavailable data from many metropolitan areas. A list of the 50 MSA’s can be found at the end of this report.

This graph shows the average price change of a single-family home over time across 50 of the most populous metropolitan areas. The house price is in thousands and is shown from 1990 to 2021.
  • Over the 50 MSA, the median single-family home price has increased by about $10,200 per year.
  • Cleveland Illyria, Ohio had the smallest nominal increase in the average single-family home price, increasing a total of approximately $118,200 from 1990 to 2021 or an average of $3,812 per year.
  • San Jose-Sunnyville-Santa Clara, California experienced the largest nominal increase in the average single-family home price, increasing a total of approximately $1,172,300 from 1990 to 2021 or an average of $37,816 per year .

Estimate the median price of a single-family home and estimate the true price

The percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) data is subtracted from the average single-family home price rise to calculate the real price rise (in percentage).

Line Chart: Estimated Nominal Price for Single Family Homes, 1991 to 2021
The blue line indicates the change in price from the previous year, and the orange line is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as consumer price inflation – the percentage change in the previous year.

Average single-family home prices and average home ownership period

One thousand and one hundred observations include 22 different periods of 10 years across the 50 most populous. The nominal estimate indicates the percentage change in the average price of a single-family home annually. In contrast, the real estimate refers to the nominal estimate minus consumer price inflation (using the consumer price index).

nominal estimate

Notes a plus discount
1100 93% 7%
  • If you were to pick any particular 10-year period and MSA combination, there is a 93% chance that this note would refer to the median single-family home price that was estimated at the end of the 10-year period.
  • If you were to pick any particular 10-year period and the MSA combination, there is a 7% chance that this note would indicate the average price of a single-family home depreciated at the end of the 10-year period.

real appreciation

Notes a plus discount
1100 74% 26%
  • If you were to pick any particular 10-year period and MSA combination, there is a 74% chance that this note would refer to the median single-family home price that was estimated at the end of the 10-year period.
  • If you were to pick any particular 10-year period and the MSA combination, there is a 26% chance that this note would indicate the average price of a single-family home depreciated at the end of the 10-year period.

Average nominal prices for a single family home

  • Across the 50 largest metro areas, the average number of 10-year periods where the median single-family home price was lower after ten years was 2.3 periods.
  • Among the negative ten-year periods, the average decrease in the median single-family home price was $27,400 after ten years.
  • Among the 10-year periods in which the median single-family home price has increased, the average increase was $91,400 after ten years.

appendix

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