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Home prices drop nationally, Realtors group says

The median price for a single-family home in the U.S. dropped 7.6 percent in the second quarter as bank sales of foreclosed homes caused values to tumble in three-quarters of U.S. cities, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

The median, the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less, was $206,500, down from $223,500 a year ago, the Chicago-based realtors group said.

Sales of single-family houses and condominiums fell 16 percent to 4.913 million at an annualized pace, a 10-year low, the Realtors said in separate reports Thursday.

Foreclosures and “short sales,” in which lenders agree to take a loss by letting a borrower sell for less than the unpaid mortgage balance, accounted for a third of all housing sales in the quarter, the report said.

People who live near a home repossessed by a lender will see their property values drop an average of $5,000, according to the Center for Responsible Lending in Durham, N.C.

“In many areas with large concentrations of foreclosure sales, homes are being purchased below replacement cost values,” Richard Gaylord, president of the Realtors’ trade group, said in the report.