The National Association of Realtors' state-by-state look back at existing homes sales in the second quarter, released Wednesday, shows gains in 39 states on a sequential basis and proclaimed that the gains should be sustainable. The national median price was also up from the first quarter, from $167,300 to $174,100.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, rose 3.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 4.76 million units in the second quarter from 4.58 million units in the first, still 2.9% below the 4.90 million-unit pace in the second quarter of 2008, the Realtors reported.Of the 39 states that showed gains, nine were higher than a year ago and Washington, D.C. showed both quarterly and annual rises.

"There have been sustained sales gains in Arizona, Nevada and Florida, as well as diverse areas such as Maryland, the District of Columbia and Nebraska," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "More recently, we've seen strong double-digit gains in Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, Washington, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, Indiana, South Dakota and Montana."

The largest sales gain between the first and second quarters was in Idaho, up 67.5%; followed by Hawaii which rose 24.2%; New York, up 22.3%, Wisconsin; with a 21.7% gain; and Nebraska with a 20.3% increase.

Distressed sales -- foreclosures and short sales that typically sell for 15% to 20% less than comparable properties -- accounted for 36% of all sales for the quarter, dragging the national median existing single-family price down 15.6% year-over-year to $174,100. As a result, 129 of 155 metropolitan statistical areas reported lower median existing single-family home prices while only 26 areas had price gains.

Somewhat predictably, however, the price gains came in markets that were well-below the national median in the first place. The largest single-family price increase was in the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island area of Iowa and Illinois, where the median price of $113,200 rose 30.6% from a year ago.Next was the Cumberland area of Maryland and West Virginia at $123,500, up 21.7% from the second quarter of 2008, followed by Elmira, N.Y., where the median price increased 11.3% to $85,000.

"The sharpest price declines continue to be concentrated in metros with high levels of foreclosures, including areas in California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada, where distressed homes comprise many of the transactions," Yun said.

In the condo sector, metro area condominium and cooperative prices, covering changes in 57 metro areas, showed the national median existing-condo price was $176,900, down 19.8% from the second quarter of 2008. Only four metros showed annual increases in the median condo price; 53 areas had declines.

Regionally, on a year-over-year basis, existing-home sales in the Northeast for the quarter rose 15.0% to a pace of 797,000, 8.4% below a year ago, with the median price down 9.7% to $246,000. Midwest sales were up 3.2% to a pace of 1.06 million, 5.3% below a year ago, with the price off 8.6% to $146,800. In the South, sales increased 3.9% to an annual rate of 1.76 million, 7.2% lower than the second quarter of 2008, with the price down 10.3% to $158,600. Sales in the West declined 2.3% to an annual rate of 1.13 million, 11.8% above a year ago, with the price down 26.6% to $212,600.