The National Association of Realtors reports the median price for existing home sales rose 1.5 percent in December 2009, rising to $178,300. Distressed homes made up 32% of all home sales in December. The bump in median prices is attributable to a lack of affordable housing inventory in many areas (which lead to multiple bids on many properties) as well as increasing sales of mid to upper priced homes (source: huliq.com).
On the other hand, the number of existing home sales dropped 16.7% in December, per CNNmoney.com. This is in part due to a rush by buyers to complete sales in November ahead of the anticipated end of the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit (which was subsequently extended and expanded). Sales for December 2009 were still up 15 percent over December 2008, on track for an adjusted rate of 5.45 million homes.