Though the holiday season is traditionally a slow time in housing, rising sales and dwindling supplies are driving inventories to record lows. Listings in 52 markets surveyed in the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report found that listings are 20.1 percent below listings a year ago.
Home sales for November, followed the traditional seasonal change and declined 7.2 percent from October. However, of the 52 metro areas surveyed in the November RE/MAX National Housing Report, 49 reported higher sales than November 2011, with an average gain of 15.7 percent. November is the seventeenth month in a row when sales have been higher than the same month in the previous year. Only three metros reported lower sales than one year ago; Las Vegas, NV -15.7 percent, Little Rock, AR -4.8 percent and Phoenix, AZ -4.3 percent. However, 37 metro areas had double digit increases including: Providence, RI +62.6%, Burlington, VT +50.8 percent, Manchester, NH +38.8 percent Nashville, TN +35.7 percent, Tampa, FL +35.1 percent and Boston, MA +32.0 percent.
The total number of homes for sale in November dropped 8.0 percent from October and 29.1 percent from the number on the market in November 2011. Month-to-month inventories have now fallen for 29 consecutive months. Due to a diminished supply, prices are rising, but such a low inventory has also caused difficulties for many potential buyers. With the November rate of sales, the average Months Supply was 5.6, slightly higher than the 5.2 supply in October, but significantly lower than the 7.8 month supply of November last year. Very low supplies continue to be seen in cities like San Francisco, CA 1.1, Los Angeles, CA 1.7, Denver, CO 2.6, Washington, DC 2.7, Orlando, FL 2.8, San Diego, CA 2.9, Seattle, WA 3.0, Detroit, MI 3.1.
The Median Price for homes sold this November was $163,750, 3.6 percent higher than the Median Price in October, and 6.9 percent higher than the price seen in November 2011. November is the tenth consecutive month with higher prices than the same time last year. While sales appear to be following a normal seasonal trend, November prices continue to rise, most likely due to reduced inventory. In fact, of the 52 metro areas surveyed only two saw price declines from 2011: Manchester, VT -7.8 percent and Providence, RI -0.8 percent. However, 19 saw double-digit gains including: Phoenix, AZ +34.8 percent, Atlanta, GA +25.7 percent, Tampa, FL +23.7 percent, Las Vegas, NV +20.1 percent, Detroit, MI +19.7 percent and Boise, ID +20.0 percent.
“2012 has been a great turn-around year for housing, with prices and sales moving beyond where we were last year,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. “We’re ending the year the way we started it, with better than expected performance. If we can get more reasonable regulation from Washington and if mortgage availability improves, 2013 will see a much stronger housing market.”
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 53 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.