September 25, 2012 (Jeff Alan)

Monthly sales of existing homes increased in August after a modest decline in July according to RE/MAX’s National Housing Report (NHR) while home prices remained flat for a second month but still outperformed the previous year for the seventh consecutive month.

Closed transactions of home purchases increased 2.5 percent from July to August and were 8.5 percent higher than in August of 2011, the 14th consecutive month home sales have increased year-over-year.

Forty-four out of the 53 metro areas in the report posted year-over-year increases in closed transactions, unchanged from July. Billings, MT (+36.2%), Trenton, NJ (+35.6%), Raleigh-Durham, NC (+28.9%), Albuquerque, NM (+28.7%), Chicago, IL (+28.1%) and Nashville, TN (+27.8%) recorded the highest year-over-year gains in closed transactions in August.

The median sales price of the homes sold in August was 0.2 percent lower than in the previous month of July, falling from $169,000 to $168,685. The median sales price was still 6.3 percent higher than the median price of $158,875 in August of 2011. It was the seventh consecutive month that home prices have increased year-over-year following 18 months of declines.

Forty-six of the 53 metro areas posted higher sales prices in August than they did a year earlier, up from 42 metro areas the previous month. The areas that posted the largest price gains during the month were Phoenix, AZ (+33.9%), Boise, ID (+24.1%), San Francisco, CA (+22.6%), Las Vegas, NV (+19.0%), Miami, FL (+17.8%) and Billings, MT (+16.6%).

Housing supplies continued to dwindle with the average monthly inventory of homes for sale declining by 6.7 percent from July and 29.7 percent from August 2011. It was the 26th consecutive month that the supply of homes for sale has declined.

Declining inventory and an uptick in sales for the month pushed the average month’s supply of inventory down for the first time in three months, falling from a 5.3 months supply of homes in July to a 4.9 months supply in August and down from a 6.8 months supply in August of last year.

Homes did sell slightly faster in August, falling from an average of 82 days in July to 81 days in August.

Tags: home sales, home prices, seasonal trends, closed transactions, median sales price