Home/Mortgages/Housing Inventory Continues to Shrink, List Prices Up from Last Year

February 21, 2012 (Chris Moore)

The inventory of available homes for sale in the United States continued to shrink in January, falling for the eighth consecutive month, and although home prices fell from the previous month, they were still over five percent higher than they were a year ago according to the latest housing data of 146 metro areas released by Realtor.com

Total listings of existing homes declined 6.59 percent from December with a total of 1,768,663 single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops listed for sale in January compared to 1,893,528 in December. The number of homes listed for sale in January was 23.2 percent lower than a year ago.

The median list price for an existing home in January was $185,500, down 1.32 percent from $188,000 in December, but still 5.69 percent higher than in January 2010.

Chicago reclaimed the top spot of having the largest year-over-year decline in median list price following a two month reign by Detroit. List prices in Chicago were 11.00 percent lower than they were in January of last year and in Detroit list prices were 8.20 percent lower than a year earlier. Chicago had also owned that title the previous four months before Detroit.

Rounding out the top five was Las Vegas, with a 6.18 percent decline, followed by Atlanta and Knoxville where annual list prices declined by 5.60 and 5.35 percent, respectively.

Florida continued to dominate the list of metropolitan areas with the largest year-over-year increase in median list prices with four of the top five areas residing in that state. Miami was at the top for the third consecutive month, posting a 32.75 percent gain, followed by Fort Myers-Cape Coral, which posted a gain of 21.00 percent.

The Punta-Gorda area moved up a spot from last month with a 19.33 percent year-over-year gain followed by the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area at 18.60 percent and the only non-Florida area, Boise City, rounded out the top five with an 18.15 percent annual gain.

Six other areas in Florida experienced double-digit gains in their annual list prices which included Sarasota-Bradenton (+17.18%), Daytona Beach (+15.91%), Naples (+15.87%), Lakeland-Winter Haven (+14.16%), Central Florida RSA (+13.25%) and Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay (+10.20%).

Other areas to see double-digit gains in year-over-year list prices were Phoenix-Mesa (+16.90%), San Antonio (+11.82%), Austin-San Marcos (+11.39%), Washington D.C. (+11.16%), Colorado Springs (+10.92%), Grand Rapids (+12.51%), West Arizona RSA (+11.34%), Springfield IL (+10.14%) and Portland-Vancouver (+11.61%).

The average number of days that an existing home spent on the market fell to 119 in January from 122 days in December and was down from 125 days in January of last year. One hundred-six out of the 146 metropolitan areas required 100 days or more to sell a home, down from 108 in December.

Residents selling their homes in the southern region of South Carolina continued to wait the longest to sell their homes, averaging 190 days on the market, down from 197 days the previous month. Residents in Oakland had the shortest wait for the fourth consecutive month, averaging 45 days on the market, down from 53 days the previous month.

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