Report: Market Equilibrium Fettered by Uneven Recovery

Report: Market Equilibrium Fettered by Uneven Recovery

10/18/2013 BY: KRISTA FRANKS BROCK

The once-volatile housing market is making strides toward equilibrium, according to a new report from Realtor.com. However, the report finds patchy progress across the country.

September was “another month of steady leveling, but the recovery certainly remains uneven in some pockets,” according to Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com.

Realtor.com tracks listings, median inventory age, and median list prices on 800 multiple listing services (MLSs) across the country, accruing broad-based data that represents 98 percent of properties for sale in the country.

In September, about 1.9 million properties were listed for sale in the United States. The median number of days on market for these properties was 93, and the median list price was $199,500. List prices rose 6.4 percent over the year, while the age of inventory declined 10.58 percent.

However, inventory declined 2.04 percent over the year in September, following six months of expansion. The

change of pace in September represents “a dramatic turnaround compared to earlier this year that signals a greater balance between demand and supply,” Realtor.com stated.

List prices increased more than 12 percent in more than one-fifth of markets Realtor.com tracks. California, Arizona, and Nevada were notable contributors to this trend.

On the other hand, about the same amount of markets continues to post prices less than or equal to their year-ago levels, according to Realtor.com. The Midwest, South, and Northeast are the most notable contributors to this trend.

“While the economy continues to take its toll in many of these markets, most are displaying small but promising signs with both inventories and age of inventories down compared to one year ago,” Realtor.com stated.

In a few markets, buyers are snapping up homes far quicker than the national median number of days on market. Oakland, California, has the shortest median inventory age at just 28 days, compared to the national median age of 93 days.

Homes are selling in about 45 days in San Francisco, California; Denver Colorado; San Jose, California; and Stockton-Lodi, California.

The bankrupt city of Detroit is also experiencing a quick turnaround with a median inventory age of 48 days.

“While we are pleased to see a continued trend toward a healthy market balance, imminent economic factors could pose a significant threat to these improvements,” Samuelson said.

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