SAN JOSE, Calif. – Feb. 20, 2014 – Despite severe weather conditions across much of the country, the 2014 homebuying season has begun on one positive note, showing an uptick in inventory a month earlier than last year, according to Realtor.com’s National Housing Trend Report for January 2014.
Data from Realtor.com reveals the median list price for January 2014 is 8.3 percent above levels observed in January 2013. The number of properties for sale is up 3.1 percent and the median age of inventory is essentially unchanged, indicating a transition to a less frenzied market compared to January 2013.
“January’s start compared to year-ago levels is an encouraging sign of sellers’ interest, particularly given the adverse conditions brought on by the polar vortex,” said Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com. “We saw the tight-supply market of last fall carry all the way into November – later than is typically expected – and this early rise in inventory is a welcome trend. The sustained median list price growth supports the gains we saw last year, and sellers are responding with confidence in that consistency. We will continue to watch inventory movement in the coming months as we move further into typical seasonal patterns, but anticipate a more balanced buying market.”
The national median existing home price is projected to rise about 5 to 6 percent in 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), which cites job growth and large pent-up demand as drivers of the market in light of rising mortgage rates.
Inventory increasing: At the national level, for-sale inventories are now 3.1 percent higher than they were one year ago, and the rise in inventory is spreading to more markets across the country. In January 2013, just eight markets registered increases in inventory. This January, 83 markets (58 percent) of the 143 markets tracked by Realtor.com showed increases in inventory, year over year. While the next few months will be critical to watch, these trends suggest a more balanced housing market going into the 2014 homebuying season.
Price increases more widespread: Median list price rose a healthy 8.3 percent in January 2014 compared to the same time last year. In January 2014, 44 markets saw year-over-year list price increases of 10 percent or more, compared to January 2013, when 24 markets registered double-digit increases in median list price. The number of declining markets in terms of median list price dropped, from 58 in January 2013 to just 13 in January 2014.
Days on market stabilizing: Median age of inventory remained steady in January 2014 compared to the same time last year, at 115 days. However, the number of markets showing year-over-year declines in age of inventory has dropped significantly, from 133 markets in January 2013 to 78 markets in January 2014. 56 markets showed year-on-year increases in days on market in January 2014, compared to just nine markets in January 2013.