Monthly sales of existing homes fell for the third consecutive month in January according to RE/MAX’s monthly National Housing Report (NHR) but were still over nine percent higher than the previous year.

January followed December’s 4.9 percent monthly decline in closed transactions with a 22.0 percent decline but transactions for the month were still 9.1 percent higher than in January of 2012, marking the 19th consecutive month that home sales have increased year-over-year.

Forty-one out of the 53 metro areas in the report posted year-over-year increases in closed transactions, up from 34 in December. Billings, MT (+62.0%), Albuquerque, NM (+45.6%), Chicago, IL (+39.2%), Raleigh, NC (+33.4%) and Charlotte, NC (+29.2%), recorded the highest year-over-year gains in closed transactions in January.

Housing supplies continued to remain constrained with the average monthly inventory of homes for sale declining by 5.1 percent from December and 28.9 percent from January 2012. It was the 31st consecutive month that the supply of homes for sale has declined.

The average month’s supply of homes for sale fell from a revised 5.7 months supply of homes in December to a 5.0 months supply in January and was down from a 7.3 months supply in January of last year.

The median sales price of the homes sold in January was 6.6 percent lower than in the previous month of December, falling from $166,250to $150,000. The median sales price was still 8.0 percent higher than the median price of $143,480 in January of 2012. It was the 12th consecutive month that home prices have increased year-over-year following 18 months of declines.

Forty-four of the 53 metro areas posted higher sales prices in January than they did a year earlier, down from 48 the previous month. The areas that posted the largest price gains during the month were San Francisco, CA (+39.2%), Atlanta, GA (+38.9%), Detroit, MI (+31.1%), Phoenix, AZ (+29.1%) and Boise, ID (+28.7%).

The average number of days it took for a home to sell increased slightly but still remained low at 87 days in January, up from 84 days in December, but still lower than the 103 days it took a year ago.

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


Reported by Jeff Alan