March 18, 2011 (Shirley Allen)
Home prices continued to decline in February according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. Prices dropped 5.9 percent compared to February 2010 which was the largest yearly drop since April 2010. This also follows a drop in year-over-year prices in January of 4.6 percent. The median sales price for a home in February was $172,000, compared to a median sales price in February 2010 of $182,785.

Total home sales, in the 54 metropolitan areas that RE/MAX surveys, dropped 3 percent from a year ago, but increased 3.3 percent from January 2011. It was the first time in four months that the year-over-year difference did not improve from the previous month.

The amount of time that a home spent on the market increased to102 days, versus 92 days a year ago, and 99 days from the month before. Housing inventory reached a 9.3 month supply, up from a 8.8 month supply a year ago.

“It’s a very good sign that home sales increased over January, which could mean that sales will increase further as we move into springtime, the prime home buying season,” RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly said. “If this trend for home sales does continue, we could also see home prices start to move up, as well.”

Seventeen metropolitan areas experienced higher sales than the previous years, with 10 of those areas experiencing double digit increases. The top performers were Albuquerque, NM +22.8%, Miami, FL +25.1%, Tampa, FL +22.0%, Trenton, NJ +20.3%, New Orleans, LA +16.2%, and Phoenix, AZ +12.2%.

Seventeen metropolitan areas also experienced year-over-year price increases. Areas seeing the largest gain in home prices included Anchorage, AK +11.2%, Jackson, MS +6.3%, Pittsburgh, PA +4.9%, Charlotte, NC +4.4%, Honolulu, HI +3.7%, and Houston, TX +3.3%.

Tags: RE/MAX, National Housing Report, median sales price, housing inventory, home sales, home prices