Home/Mortgages/Housing Inventory Drops Another Six Percent in December

January 19, 2012 (Chris Moore)

The inventory of available homes for sale in the United States continued to drop in December, falling for the seventh consecutive month, while the listing prices for those homes that were available for purchase fell slightly according to the latest data housing of 146 metro areas released by Realtor.com

Total listings of existing homes declined 6.00 percent from November with a total of 1,893,528 single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops listed for sale in December compared to 2,014,352 in November. The number of homes listed for sale in December was 22.29 percent lower than a year ago.

The median list price for an existing home in December was $188,000, down 1.0 percent from $189,900 in November, but 5.03 percent higher than in December 2010.

Detroit posted the largest year-over-year decline in median list prices for the second consecutive month, falling 11.01 percent below December 2010’s price levels. Chicago, which had posted the largest declines in list prices for the previous four months before Detroit took over that distinction, had a year-over-year decline of 10.00 percent.

Rounding out the top five was Las Vegas, with a 7.62 percent decline, followed by Sacramento and Atlanta with annual list price declines of 6.98 and 6.25 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 second consecutive month, posting a 32.50 percent gain, followed by Naples, which posted a gain of 21.67 percent.

Fort Myers-Cape Coral, which had posted the largest gains in the median list price for the previous five months before Miami claimed the top spot, was third highest at 21.47 percent. Punta Gorda was next with a 19.42 percent annual median list price increase and Boise City, Idaho, broke into the top five with a gain of 19.25.

Five other areas in Florida experienced double-digit gains in their annual list prices which included West Palm Beach (+18.38%), Sarasota (+17.62%), Daytona Beach (+16.06%), Central Florida RSA (+12.63%), and Lakeland-Winter Haven (+12.28%).

The average number of days that an existing home spent on the market climbed to 122 in December from 114 days in November but was down from 127 days in December of last year. One hundred-nine out of the 146 metropolitan areas required 100 days or more to sell a home, up from 92 in November.

Residents selling their homes in the southern region of South Carolina continued to wait the longest to sell their homes, averaging 197 days on the market, up from 188 days the previous month. Residents in Oakland had the shortest wait for the third consecutive month, averaging 53 days on the market, up from 49 days the previous month.

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