(January 29, 2013) Monthly sales of existing homes fell for the second consecutive month still but closed out the year almost four percent higher than the previous year according to RE/MAX’s monthly National Housing Report (NHR) while tight housing supplies kept prices moving upward.

December followed November’s 7.2 percent monthly decline in closed transactions with a 4.9 percent decline but transactions for the month were still 3.8 percent higher than in December of 2011, marking the 18th consecutive month that home sales have increased year-over-year.

Thirty-four out of the 53 metro areas in the report posted year-over-year increases in closed transactions, down from 50 in November. Raleigh-Durham, NC (+31.3%), Albuquerque, NM (+29.6%), Providence, RI (+24.5%), Chicago, IL (+21.1%) and Hartford, CT (+19.9%) recorded the highest year-over-year gains in closed transactions in December.

The median sales price of the homes sold in December was 1.8 percent higher than in the previous month of November, increasing from $163,750 to $166,250. The median sales price was 7.6 percent higher than the median price of $154,505 in December of 2011. It was the 11th consecutive month that home prices have increased year-over-year following 18 months of declines.

Forty-eight of the 53 metro areas posted higher sales prices in December than they did a year earlier, down from 50 the previous month. The areas that posted the largest price gains during the month were San Francisco, CA (+34.6%), Detroit, MI (+32.8%), Phoenix, AZ (+31.4%), Boise, ID (+29.1%), and Miami, FL (+27.4%).

Housing supplies continued to dwindle with the average monthly inventory of homes for sale declining by 11.8 percent from November and 29.1 percent from December 2011. It was the 30th consecutive month that the supply of homes for sale has declined.

Although the housing inventory continued to decline, the drop in sales increased the average month’s supply of homes for sale from a revised 5.6 months supply of homes in November to a 5.7 months supply in December but still down from a 7.8 months supply in December of last year.

The average number of days it took for a home to sell increased slightly but still remained low at 84 days in December, up from 82 days in November, but still lower than the 98 days it took a year ago.

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


Reported by Jeff Alan