According to numbers compiled by RE/MAX, for the second consecutive month, home prices have risen higher than a year ago. Median prices in March were an impressive 5.8 percent higher than March 2011 in the 53 metro areas surveyed for the RE/MAX National Housing Report. February marked the first time in 18 months that home prices rose higher than the previous year, and year-to-year price increases haven’t occurred in two consecutive months since August 2010. Home sales in March were 25.4 percent higher than February and 1.5 percent higher than March last year.
For the last nine months, sales have reached a level higher than the same month in the previous year. Following these trends, the spring and summer months should experience increased activity. With falling inventory and many markets witnessing multiple offers with bidding competitions, prices are likely to continue to rise in many areas.
“With buyers starting to jump into this market, this year’s selling season is shaping up to be the strongest we’ve seen in years,” said Margaret Kelly, chief executive officer of RE/MAX LLC. “Although we don’t expect home prices to rise in every market at the same rate, the worst is definitely behind us, and a slow, steady recovery is taking hold.”
March represents the ninth straight month that sales have been higher than levels in the previous year. Good weather, low interest rates, attractive pricing, and improving consumer confidence have drawn many buyers into this year’s growing market. Of the 53 metro areas included in the March survey, 33 experienced a year-over-year increase in sales, and 17 of those saw double-digit increases including: Wilmington, Del. +41.8 percent; Omaha, Neb. +30.6 percent; Providence, R.I. +26.6 percent; Tulsa, Okla. +26.0 percent; Chicago, Ill. +23.7 percent; and Milwaukee, Wisc. +21.4 percent.
For homes sold in March, the median sales price was $184,525. This represents a 7.3 percent price increase from February, and a 5.8 percent increase from the March 2011 median price. March marks only the second year-over-year price increase in 19 months and the first consecutive increase since August 2010. In the March RE/MAX National Housing Report of 53 metro areas, 36 experienced price increases from March 2011, with 10 seeing double-digit increases including: Detroit, Mich. +22.8 percent; Miami, Fla. +21.8 percent; St. Louis, Mo. +18.5 percent; Phoenix, Ariz. +18.2 percent; Atlanta, Ga. +13.7 percent; and Orlando, Fla. +12.7 percent.