DENVER, Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The selling season in 2012 started early and continued through the whole year. Now, the new year is starting at levels even higher than last January. The January RE/MAX National Housing Report shows the recovery continues with sales up 9.1% and prices up 8.0% from January last year. Falling inventories are both a positive and negative factor for the recovery. They have pushed prices higher, which helps underwater homeowners, but have also created a shortage of homes for potential buyers. The inventory of homes for sale remains 28.9% below the levels seen in January 2012. With fewer distressed properties and underwater homes, more home sellers in 2013 may be persuaded to place their homes on the market and move up. As the inventory issue works its way back to a traditional balance, the housing market should continue a robust recovery in 2013.
"We saw a strong start to 2012 last January, and this year is starting with an even higher number of sales and increased prices," said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. "Such an impressive start to the new year is hopefully pointing to an even stronger performance for the entire year. Expect the 2013 housing market to continue the solid recovery that began one year ago."
Transactions – Year-Over-Year Change
January home sales followed a common winter trend, dropping 22.0% lower than the number of sales in December. However, home sales were up 9.1% from January last year, when many analysts believe the housing recovering began. January is the nineteenth month in a row with sales higher than the same month in the previous year. Of the 52 metro areas surveyed in the January RE/MAX National Housing Report, 41 reported higher sales than January 2012. Of those 41 metropolitan areas, 31 reported double digit gains over last January's sales including: Billings, MT +62.0%, Albuquerque, NM +45.6%, Chicago, IL +39.2%, Raleigh, NC +33.4%, Charlotte, NC +29.2%, and Providence, RI +28.5%.
Median Sales Price
January median prices fell 6.6% lower than December prices. However, the $155,000 Median Price for all homes sold in January was, 8.0% higher than the price seen in January 2012. For the twelfth consecutive month, January reported a higher Median Price than the same month of the previous year. Of all 52 metro areas included in the January RE/MAX National Housing Report, a significant number, 44, experienced year-over-year price increases. Of the 44, 26 saw double digit increases including: San Francisco, CA +39.2%, Atlanta, GA +38.9%, Detroit, MI +31.1%, Phoenix, AZ +29.1%, Boise, ID +28.7%, and Las Vegas, NV +28.6%.
Days on Market – Average of 53 Metro Areas
January saw an average Days on Market for sold homes of 87, an increase of just 3 days for the 84 average in December. However it is significantly lower than the 103 day average of January 2011. January's average of 87 marks the eighth time in the past year that the Days on Market average was below 90. Lower inventory levels continues to hold the average down. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and when a sales contract is signed.
Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 Metro Areas
January saw a drop of 5.1% in the number of homes for sale compared to December, and a drop of 28.9% from January 2011. The month-to-month change in inventory has now fallen for the last 31 months in a row. A reduced inventory has fueled recent price increases, but is also making it difficult for many buyers to purchase the home of their choice. With the rate of January home sales, the average Months Supply was 5.0, slightly lower than the 5.7 supply in December, but significantly lower than the 7.3 supply in January last year. A 6 month supply is considered a balanced market. Extremely low Months Supply levels continue to be seen in cities like: San Francisco, CA 1.1, Los Angeles, CA 1.5, Denver, CO 1.8, San Diego, CA 2.2, Washington, DC 2.2, Seattle, WA 2.3, Boise, ID 2.5 and Detroit, MI 2.6.
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RE/MAX was founded in 1973 by Dave and Gail Liniger, real estate industry visionaries who still lead the Denver-based global franchisor today. RE/MAX is recognized as a leading real estate franchisor with the most productive sales force in the industry and a global reach of more than 85 countries. With a passion for the communities in which its agents live and work, RE/MAX is proud to have raised more than $120 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and other charities.
The RE/MAX National Housing Report is distributed each month on or about the 15th. The first Report was distributed in August 2008. The Report is based on MLS data in approximately 52 metropolitan areas, includes all residential property types, and is not annualized. For maximum representation, many of the largest metro areas in the country are represented, and an attempt is made to include at least one metro from each state. Metro area definitions include the specific counties established by the U.S. Government's Office of Management and Budget, with some exceptions.
Transactions are the total number of closed residential transactions during the given month. Month's Supply of Inventory is the total number of residential properties listed for sale at the end of the month (active inventory) divided by the number of sales contracts signed (pended) during the month. Where "pended" data is unavailable, this calculation is made using closed transactions. Days on Market is the number of days that pass from the time a property is listed until the property goes under contract for all residential properties sold during the month. Median Sales Price is the median price of all residential properties sold during the month.
MLS data is provided by contracted data aggregators, RE/MAX brokerages and regional offices. While MLS data is believed to be accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. MLS data is constantly being updated, making any analysis a snapshot at a particular time. Every month the RE/MAX National Housing Report re-calculates the previous period's data to ensure accuracy over time. All raw data remains the intellectual property of each local MLS organization.