Housing Inventory Continues to Drop, Prices Holding Firm

November 21, 2011 (Chris Moore)

The inventory of available homes for sale in the United States continued to dwindle in October, falling for the fifth consecutive month, according to the latest data housing of 146 metro areas released by Realtor.com

Total listings of existing homes declined 3.48 percent from September with a total of 2,116,794 single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops listed for sale in October compared to 2,193,170 in September. The number of homes listed for sale in October was 20.77 percent lower than a year ago.

The median list price for an existing home in October was $189,900, down 0.05 percent from the median list price of $190,000 posted in September. The median list price has remained virtually unchanged since June and is 2.65 percent higher than in October 2010.

The area with the largest year-over-year decline in the median list price, for the fourth consecutive month, was Chicago where the median list price was 12.6 percent lower than in October of 2010. Detroit had the second largest decline of 10.9 percent, followed by Las Vegas with a decline of 10.4 percent, Atlanta with a decline of 8.6 percent, and the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, which posted an annual decline of 7.0 percent.

The area with the largest year-over-year increase in the median list price, for the fifth consecutive month, was the Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL, area where the median list price was 32.81 percent higher than in October of last year. Miami continued to run a close second with an annual median list price increase of 25.06 percent, followed by Naples, FL, with an increase of 23.91 percent, Sarasota-Bradenton, FL, with a 17.5% percent increase, and Punta Gorda, FL, with a 16.62 percent annual median list price increase.

Of the top 20 markets that posted an annual increase in median list price, metro areas in Florida captured ten of those top spots.

The average number of days that an existing home spent on the market climbed to 110 in October compared to 107 days in September, which was just slightly less than October of last year. Eighty-four out of the 146 metropolitan areas required 100 days or more to sell a home, up from 77 in September.

Residents selling their homes in the southern region of South Carolina continued to wait the longest to sell their homes, averaging 185 days on the market, up from 177 days the previous month. Residents in Oakland had the shortest wait, averaging 49 days on the market.

Tags: housing inventory, listed homes, home prices, median sales price, average list price