Housing market bucks seasonal slowdown

The housing market shows no signs of slowing down, bucking the typical trend for this time of year, according to November data released by realtor.com.

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November’s median list prices remained unusually strong for the season, showing a 6.9 percent increase year over year, while declining 0.7 percent month over month, according to the National Housing Trend Report.

Inventory appeared to be stabilizing from dramatic drops in the beginning of the year, although some local real estate markets were experiencing significant supply shortages. Meanwhile, median list prices were about 7 percent higher than at the same time last year.

“With demand in a much stronger position compared to last year, we anticipate these gains to remain steady into 2014, but with increases expected at a more moderate pace than we have seen in 2013,” said Errol Samuelson, president of realtor.com.

List prices were still on the rise as well. California and Nevada markets continued to lead the nation in year-over-year, list-price increases, followed by Arizona, Florida and other areas that were once the epicenters of the housing crisis. The Detroit metro market also showed solid gains.

National perspective

Median age of inventory was still down 10.6 percent year-over-year in spite of its seasonal monthly rise from 94 to 101 days. This suggests that properties continued to turn over relatively quickly regardless of the winter season, and despite increasing home prices and stabilizing inventory.

Median list prices were 6.9 percent higher than they were a year ago. On a month-over-month basis, prices fell slightly in November but remained resilient against the usual seasonal patterns and stabilizing inventory.

Market highlights

List prices still on the rise: The majority of housing markets were registering positive signs, with 111 of the 146 markets covered by realtor.com showing year-over-year increases of 1 percent or more in their median list price and only 10 markets registering declines of 1 percent or more.

Inventory shortages moderately ease: In many housing markets, rising list prices were primarily driven by a shortage in for-sale inventories. While still significant, these shortages were abating as sellers attempted to take advantage of improving housing conditions. While inventories continued to be down on a year-over-year basis in the majority of housing markets, the shortfalls were gradually declining.

The 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with the largest year-over-year declines in for-sale inventories in November are listed below. While California housing markets dominated the list earlier in the year, they have largely been replaced by a few housing markets in Florida; Boulder, Colo.; and Detroit.

Age of inventory data tracks with recent hot and cold markets: The areas with the shortest average days of homes on the market were similar to those in recent months — such as Oakland, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; Phoenix, Detroit and Honolulu. The areas with the longest days on market – Santa Fe, N.M. (144); Wilmington, N.C. (137); Philadelphia (131); and Reading, Pa. (123) – highlight the continued weakness in some resort markets and older, industrialized communities.

Source: MSN Real Estate

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