The U.S. housing market is in a completely different position than this time last year, with solid price increases, steady inventory and strong demand continuing well into the fall season, according to realtor.com’s National Housing Trend Report for October 2013.
Median U.S. home prices in October were relatively unaffected by the usual seasonal patterns, with a 7.57 percent increase year over year. National inventory is stabilizing after the dramatic declines seen earlier this year, although the nation still is experiencing significant supply shortages. Most notably, median age of inventory – a leading indicator of demand – is down 11.32 percent from last year, demonstrating resilience to seasonal changes and stabilized inventory.
“Instead of the usual seasonal slowdown, October data show the 2013 fall market moving at a fast pace,” said Errol Samuelson, president of realtor.com. “Inventory has returned to last year’s levels, but prices continue to strengthen and homes are moving significantly faster compared to this time last year.”
“This demonstrates that the overall strength of the national housing market is determined partly by inventory availability,” said National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “We expect rising home price conditions to continue through the balance of the year.”
Key Market Indicators for October 2013
October 2013 Year-over-Year Percentage Change Month-over-Month Percentage Change
Number of Listings 1,905,064 -1.51 percent -0.71 percent
Median Age of Inventory 94 days -11.32 percent 1.08 percent
Median List Price $199,000 7.57 percent -0.25 percent
After six months of steady improvement, housing supplies are now just 1.51 percent lower than they were one year ago, which signals a greater balance between demand and supply.
Median age of inventory is down 11.32 percent from last year, and rose slightly from 93 days last month to 94 days in October. This suggests that properties continue to turn over quickly in contrast to the usual seasonal patterns, and despite increasing prices and stablizing inventory.
Median list prices are 7.57 percent higher than where they were one year ago. Monthly prices fell slightly in October, but remained resilient against the usual seasonal patterns and stabilizing inventory.
The report’s October figures identified several markets with rapid turnover, some at roughly half of the national median “days on market” figure of 94 days. Oakland remains the national leader at just 30 days. Only Washington, DC has shortened its age of inventory from September; the rest have increased time on market, while Phoenix remained flat.
Metropolitan Areas with the Shortest Median Days on Market
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
The report also highlighted two other sectors of individual market health.
Widespread Price Increases – Detroit continues to lead the country in year-over-year list price increases, followed by markets in California and Nevada. Eighty-five percent of the 146 markets covered by realtor.com reported year-over year increases in list price, with just 19 markets showing price declines in October.
Market Inventories Shift – Decreases are steady and increases are on the rise. The number of markets where inventories were down by 5 percent or more on a year-over-year basis continued its steady decline, dropping from 102 markets in June to 65 markets in October. At the same time, inventory grew in more than twice the number of markets in October (49) compared to June (22), and the number of markets with inventories that are up by at least 5 percent over the year rose from 15 markets in June to 30 markets in October.