The September 2011 RE/MAX National Housing Report, a survey of housing data from 53 metropolitan areas, shows that the number of home sales were 7.6 percent higher than September 2010. This follows a trend from August and July, when sales were up 18 percent and 13.1 percent respectively. With higher sales, the inventory of homes on the market fell for the 15th consecutive month by 20.2 percent from September 2010. Despite brisk sales at the end of summer, home prices continued a slight downward trend, falling 3.3 percent from last year.
“It’s a good omen that home sales remained at a level higher than last year, and if this pace continues, we would hope to see prices start to rise too,” said Margaret Kelly, chief executive officer of RE/MAX LLC. “The market is trying hard to recover, and favorable policies from Washington would reduce the possibility of a further decline.”
In the month of September, closed transactions followed an expected seasonal trend and dropped 14.6 percent from sales in August. However, compared to September 2010, home sales were up 7.6 percent, which marks the third month in a row that sales were higher than the same month a year ago. Transactions have shown positive growth for four of the nine months in 2011. Of the 53 metro areas surveyed, 44 experienced a rise in home sales from 2010, including: Des Moines, Iowa +31.3 percent; Minneapolis +30.1 percent; Wilmington, Del. +28.4 percent; Trenton, N.J. +27.3 percent; and Providence, R.I. +23.5 percent.
The report showed that the Median Sales Price was $183,762 for the month of September. This is just 2.5 percent lower than the median price for August and 3.3 percent lower than prices seen in September 2010. Home prices have increased for four of the last seven months, while on a year-to-year basis, median price losses have been improving for six consecutive months. Of the 53 metro areas reviewed for this report, 17 saw price increases from last year, including: Detroit +13.4 percent; Miami, Fla. +8.4 percent; Orlando, Fla. +7.8 percent; Anchorage, Alaska +5.1 percent and Indianapolis, Ind. +4.5 percent.
For the 53 metro areas in the report, all properties sold in the month of September had an average Days on Market of 94. This was just four days higher than the average of 90 seen in August, and six days higher than the average seen in September 2010. This past July and September 2010, both had an average Days on Market of 88, which represents the lowest average in the last 12 months. Days on Market is the number of days between first being listed in an MLS and when a sales contract is signed.
Perhaps due to a falling foreclosure rate, the total number of homes for sale, or inventory, has dropped for 15 straight months. The average inventory of homes-for-sale in the 53 metro areas surveyed dropped 4.8 percent from August and 20.2 percent from September 2010. This results in a 7.7 Months Supply of homes for September, which is up from 6.8 in August, but down from the 9.8 supply seen in September 2010. Months Supply is the number of months it would take to clear a market’s active inventory at the current rate of sales. A six-month supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.