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Spring Breathes Life into Prices

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By Steve Cook

RISMEDIA, May 12, 2011— A seasonal uptick in both median prices and inventory has appeared in most metropolitan areas across the country, contradicting earlier price reports, according to Altos Research’s 20-city Composite trends data in April. Price increases are apparent in 24 of the 26 tracked markets, and inventory increases are apparent in 23 of the 26 tracked markets.

The week-over-week median prices have been increasing for a few months now, and the 90-day rolling average is now reflecting the same trend.

“The historical view tells us a seasonal increase in activity is expected at this time of year. Regardless of what’s happening in the economy as a whole, we see a seasonal spike in both median prices and inventory when the country starts to thaw from the winter months,” says the Altos report.

Altos’ national index median price rose to $440,194 in April, up 1.82 percent from $432,307 in March. The leaders in the price increase category were in “Sunshine States”—San Francisco (4.87 percent), San Jose (4.32 percent), Phoenix (3.30 percent), Denver (3.23 percent), and DC (3.04 percent).

Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. all showed double-digit inventory increases and Boston posted the biggest inventory increase at 19.18 percent. The 7-day and 90-day averages are both trending upwards for median prices and inventory. The 7-day trends are always the first indication of a shifting market and should be watched closely.

Prices were flat in New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Tampa. Las Vegas and New York were the only markets showing a decrease in inventory, and the decreases were modest (-1.05 percent and -0.26 percent, respectively). Compared to the big price drops over the past six months, this is welcome news for sellers.

The Altos Research Real-Time Housing Report provides up-to-the-minute data relative to housing market conditions in major markets around the nation. The Altos report uses metrics associated with active residential property listings to deliver real-time information.

For more information, please visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.

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