SEATTLE, June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Technology-powered real estate broker Redfin today released its Real-Time Price Tracker for May 2012, showing an annual price gain of 2.2% and a monthly gain of 2.7% across the U.S. Inventory levels were down 23.5% compared to last year, and down 1.7% compared to last month. Sales volumes were up 7.4% over this time last year, and pending sales were up even more, by 10.7%. The May 2012 Redfin Real-Time Price Tracker is the broker's first monthly analysis of home prices, sales volumes and inventory levels across the 19 markets Redfin serves nationwide.
"We expected real estate to soften in May along with the larger economy, but we actually saw home prices continue to increase," said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. "This trend seems likely to hold at least through mid-summer. Redfin's business saw a stronger-than-expected rebound from Memorial Day weekend: with rates low and rents high more new home-buyers were touring homes last weekend, and more are now writing offers. The limit on sales volume is inventory. Not enough sellers have stepped in to provide the liquidity that once came from banks with foreclosures to sell."
Prices Up 2.2% Over Last Year; Strongest Gains in Phoenix and Denver
From April to May, prices strengthened in 17 of the 19 markets Redfin surveyed, with the largest gains coming in the San Francisco Bay Area, Phoenix, Chicago and Boston. Perhaps most remarkable, Phoenix home prices increased 30% since last year and Denver gained 10%.
Inventory Down Year over Year by 20% or More in 15 of 19 Markets
The primary reason prices are increasing is falling inventory. In 16 of the 19 markets measured, the number of houses for sale declined since May 2011; in 15 of the 19 the decline was by 20% or more. Chicago and Boston saw gains in inventory, as did Philadelphia by 47% over last year.
Nearly One in Three Listings Now Sell Within 14 Days of Debut
The decline in inventory led to a major shift in how long new listings took to sell. The proportion of new listings under contract within 14 days of their debut increased 73% over the last year. In Silicon Valley last month, more than half of all listings were under contract within 14 days of debut.
Closed Sales Up 7.4%
But demand is also rising, as evidenced by the 7.4% increase in sales volume since last year. Sales are especially strong in California, whereas in Phoenix they are limited by the lack of available houses for sale.
Pending Sales Up 10.7%
If we look at pending sales, which is a measure of houses under contract but still not closed, the trend seems to be accelerating. For pending sales, the annual gain was 10.7%.
About the Redfin Real-Time Price Tracker
Redfin's monthly report on home prices, inventory levels and sales volume is an up-to-date, accurate portrait of the U.S. real estate market, coming weeks or even months ahead of other market reports. As a broker with access to dozens of Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) used by real estate agents to list properties and record sales, Redfin gets data within minutes of a sale, pending sale or listing activation, well before any government, media or analytics organization. Using MLS fields, Redfin is able to distinguish houses from condominiums and townhouses -- which often sell for less money.
To validate the accuracy of the data and to account for sales not handled by a real estate agent, Redfin compares MLS data with county records as they become available, using sophisticated algorithms to identify and resolve disparities about square footage or price for each address. To get data at a neighborhood level for any market, or to see the full methodology of the report, write to [email protected] or visit blog.redfin.com.
Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the real estate industry's first technology-powered brokerage, combining a customer-focused team of real estate agents with online tools for making the process of buying or selling a home easy. Redfin is backed by Madrona Venture Group and Greylock Partners, early investors behind Amazon and Facebook. To keep track of our daring exploits, subscribe to blog.redfin.com or our Twitter feed @redfin.