Home/Mortgages/Spring Housing Inventory Growing, Sellers Raise Prices

April 18, 2012 (Chris Moore)

The inventory of available homes for sale in the United States continued to swell in March as homes began to sell at a faster pace with the average time a home spent on the market falling by over 20 days in just a month according to the latest housing data of 146 metro areas released by Realtor.com.

Total listings of existing homes increased 1.54 percent from February with a total of 1,804,040 single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops listed for sale in March compared to 1,778,237 in February. The total number of homes listed for sale in March was still 21.48 percent lower than a year ago.

The median list price for an existing home in March was $189,900, up 1.01 percent from $188,000 in February, and 5.56 percent higher than in March 2011.

The Phoenix-Mesa, AZ, area continued to make a big comeback with the largest year-over-year price increase in March. Homes prices in the area are up 23.45 percent over March of last year. Miami, which had held the top spot for the previous four months, had the second highest year-over-year gain of 22.27 percent.

Boise moved up into the third slot with a 19.73 percent annual gain followed by Punta Gorda , FL, and Washington D.C. where home prices have increased 17.50 and 17.44 percent over the last year, respectively.

Chicago posted the largest year-over-year decline in median list prices for the third consecutive month, falling 9.48 percent from a year ago followed by Knoxville which saw list prices in their area fall 5.41 percent.

Rounding out the bottom five was Orange County, CA, with a 4.42 percent decline, followed by Sacramento and Philadelphia where annual list prices declined by 4.35 and 3.77 percent, respectively.

A total of 24 of the 146 metropolitan areas in the survey registered double digit increases in year-over-year listing prices, unchanged from the previous month. List prices are not necessarily indicative of selling prices, but may signal market sentiment by sellers.

The average number of days that an existing home spent on the market fell to 89 in March from 111 days in both the previous month of February and March of last year. Forty-four out of the 146 metropolitan areas required 100 days or more to sell a home, down from 88 in February.

Residents selling their homes in the southern region of South Carolina continued to wait the longest to sell their homes, averaging 169 days on the market, down from 179 days the previous month. Residents in Oakland had the shortest wait for the sixth consecutive month, averaging 28 days on the market, down from 32 days the previous month.

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