Realtor.com just recently posted its February & March data on the U.S. housing market.
• In February, the total number of single-family homes, condos, town homes and co-ops for sale in the U.S. (1,494,218) increased by 1.15 percent month-over-month. On an annual basis, however, inventory was down by 15.97 percent.
• The national median list price for single-family homes, condos, town homes and co-ops ($189,900) increased by 1.01 percent year-over-year and 1.55 percent month-over-month in February.
• The median age of inventory of for sale listings fell to 98 days in February, down 9.26 percent from January and 11.71 percent below the median age one year ago (February 2012).
• Nearly all of the markets with the largest year-over-year declines in their for sale inventories in February were in California, where declines averaged 48 percent. The list includes Sacramento, Stockton, Oakland, San Jose, Orange County, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Riverside and Ventura. These markets also experienced a dramatic decline in the median age of inventory, falling to an average of just 31 days, or 53 percent lower than it was one year ago.
• On an annual basis, February median list prices were up by 5 percent or more in 51 markets while they were down by more than 5 percent in 11 markets. The number of markets experiencing a year-over-year list price decline in February (39) is significantly below the number of declines observed in January (50). California markets continue to dominate the list of areas experiencing the largest year-over-year increases in their median list prices, representing nine out of the top ten best performers.
• The ten markets with the longest time on the market continued to include the coastal areas of the Carolinas and the resort communities of Santa Fe, NM and Ashville, NC. In addition, five older industrialized areas also appear on the list: Reading, PA; Portland, ME; Albany, NY; Philadelphia and Trenton, NJ. California markets continued to dominate the list of top ten areas with the shortest time on the market, although the median age of inventory was also at record lows in Denver and Seattle. Median time on market in these areas averaged just 28 days, 51 percent lower compared to one year ago.
March data on the U.S. housing market shows growing optimism and confidence among potential sellers. Realtor.com’s March 2013 data indicates that while national housing inventory decreased 15.22 percent since last year, the number of listings increased 2.36 percent since February 2013. This month-over-month increase indicates a renewed willingness in sellers to put their homes on the market as list prices increased .05 percent both year-over-year and month-over-month to a national average list price of $190,000. The data also showed that the median age of inventory dropped to 78 days—a decrease of 20.41 percent since February.
A month-over-month inventory increase of 2.36 percent reflects a rise in new property listings since February 2013, but there are drastically fewer homes on the market compared to this time last year (15.22 percent less). While the median age of housing inventory continues to decline year-over-year by 12.35 percent, the amount of time houses are sitting on the market has decreased dramatically by 20 days since February, suggesting that a broad-based housing recovery is beginning to take hold.
A new trend in median list price has emerged in 2013. Since the beginning of the year, a growing number of the 146 markets realtor.com monitors have experienced an increase in list price year-over-year, while the number of markets that have experienced a list price decrease since last year declined. The March data shows that out of the 36 markets that registered a year-over-year decrease in median list price in the month, only six markets had a decline that was more than 5 percent, implying that these markets appear to be within easy striking distance of experiencing house price appreciation in 2013.