Housing

An “Open House” sign outside a home in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 24.

The punishing price gains of the pandemic-era housing market are showing signs of easing.

In the third quarter, the median price of an existing single-family home in the U.S. rose 16% from a year earlier to $363,700, the National Association of Realtors said in a report Wednesday. The rate was 23% in the second quarter. About 78% of 183 metropolitan areas measured had double-digit increases, down from 94% in the previous three-month period.

The brutal bidding wars brought on by the pandemic housing frenzy are easing up in some areas as more owners list their homes for sale. But with prices still on the rise from a year earlier, renters who are looking to become buyers may still struggle to find properties they can afford.

“Home prices are continuing to move upward, but the rate at which they ascended slowed in the third quarter,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors group, said in the report. “I expect more homes to hit the market as early as next year, and that additional inventory, combined with higher mortgage rates, should markedly reduce the speed of price increases.”

Buyers still faced stiff competition in the top 10 markets, where most properties were listed for only a few days before going under contract, according to Yun.

Among metro areas, values rose the most in Austin, Texas, with a 34% gain from a year earlier. It was one of three metro areas nationwide with increases of 30% or more. The others were Naples, Fla., and Boise, Idaho.

The most expensive market in the third quarter was San Jose, Calif., with a median price of $1.65 million.