Home Sales Increase for First Time in Half a Year

February 23, 2011 (Shirley Allen)
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According to the RE/MAX National Housing Report, home sales in the 54 markets surveyed increased for the first time in six months. January 2011 sales increased 0.7 percent from January 2010 as the inventory of homes for sale continued a downward trend and is now 5.6 percent lower than last year. Home prices however, were 4.6 percent lower than this time last year.

“We’re very pleased that sales this January are higher than last January, and we’re hopeful that this indicates even higher sales this spring,” said RE/MAX Chief Executive Officer Margaret Kelly. “Although inventories have been steadily shrinking for months, an increase in foreclosure activity could reverse this trend and produce additional pressure on prices.”

Twenty-seven markets, including some that were hardest hit by the housing crisis, experienced exceptional year-to-year growth in home sales: Miami, Florida up 29.5 percent; Tampa, Florida up 21.8 percent; Richmond, Virginia up 20.5 percent; New Orleans, Louisiana up 16.9 percent and Phoenix, Arizona up 16.5 percent.

January prices dropped 6.6 percent from December and 4.6 percent from January 2010, which represents the largest year-to-year drop since May 2010. Still, 17 metro areas experienced a year-to-year increase in sales prices. Some key markets with rising prices include: Jackson, Mississippi up 20.9 percent; Indianapolis, Indiana up 9.4 percent; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania up 9.1 percent; Tulsa, Oklahoma up 5.9 percent and Washington, D.C. up 3.3 percent.

The average number of days that a home remained on the market, from listing to signed contract, increased to 99 days which was three days longer than December 2010 and eight days longer than January 2010.

Overall inventory was down 3.6 percent from last month and down 5.6 percent from January 2010. The Months Supply of Inventory in January was 10.1, which has remained above nine for six months and above 10 for the last three months. This does not include the “shadow” inventory of homes that are currently in the foreclosure process.

Tags: RE/MAX, national housing report, home sales, home prices, housing crisis