Home/Mortgages/Housing Inventory Grows for a Third Month, Sellers Asking More

June 20, 2012 (Chris Moore)

The inventory of available homes for sale in the United States grew for the third consecutive month as the traditional spring/summer selling season brought more sellers into the market, and higher listing prices, according to the latest housing data of 146 metro areas released by Realtor.com.

Total listings of existing homes for sale increased 1.96 percent from April with a total of 1,876,924 single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops were listed for sale in May compared to 1,840,803 in April. The total number of homes listed for sale was still 20.07 percent lower than a year ago.

The median list price for an existing home in May was $194,900, up 1.92 percent from $191,211 in April, and 3.17 percent higher than in May 2011.

The Phoenix-Mesa, AZ, area continued to show the greatest improvement in year-over-year prices for the third consecutive month in May. Home prices in the area are up 32.63 percent over May of last year. The Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc area in California had the second highest year-over-year gain of 30.06 percent.

Chattanooga, TN-GA, posted an increase of 24.06 percent over last year, followed by Boise City, ID, with a 20.71 percent annual increase, with Miami, FL, rounding out the top five with a gain of 15.54 percent over last year.

The Reading, PA, area posted the largest year-over-year decline in median list prices, falling 5.40 percent from a year ago followed by the Allentown-Bethlehem- Easton, PA, which saw list prices in their area fall 5.26 percent.

Rounding out the bottom five was the Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI, area with an 5.21 percent decline, followed by the Stockton-Lodi, CA, area and Tyler, TX, where annual list prices declined by 4.19 and 3.84 percent, respectively.

None of the 146 metropolitan areas in the survey registered double digit declines in year-over-year listing prices, down from only three the previous month. List prices are not necessarily indicative of selling prices, but may signal market sentiment by sellers. All together, 117 of the areas saw an increase in list prices.

The average number of days that an existing home spent on the market fell to 83 in May from 84 in April and was down from 92 days in May of last year. Twenty-two out of the 146 metropolitan areas required 100 days or more to sell a home, down from 23 in April.

Residents selling their homes in the southern region of South Carolina continued to wait the longest to sell their homes, averaging 143 days on the market, down from 161 days the previous month. Residents in Oakland had the shortest wait for the eighth consecutive month, averaging 23 days on the market, up from 20 days the previous month.

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