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Sellers Becoming Confident in the Housing Market, Providing an Optimistic Outlook for the Housing Recovery

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Realtor.com®, a leader in online real estate operated by Move, Inc., has released its March data on the U.S. housing market that shows growing optimism and confidence among potential sellers. Realtor.com®’s March 2013 data indicates that while national housing inventory decreased 15.22 percent since last year, the number of listings increased 2.36 percent since February 2013. This month-over-month increase indicates a renewed willingness in sellers to put their homes on the market as list prices increased .05 percent both year-over-year and month-over-month to a national average list price of $190,000. The data also showed that the median age of inventory dropped to 78 days — a decrease of 20.41 percent since February.

“The newest data shows that the outlook is optimistic for the overall real estate recovery,” said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move, Inc. “The housing market is a key indicator for the national economy, and things are slowly picking up steam. The next three months will be significant in determining the impact of the recovering housing market.”

A month-over-month inventory increase of 2.36 percent reflects a rise in new property listings since February 2013, but there are drastically fewer homes on the market compared with this time last year (15.22 percent less). While the median age of housing inventory continues to decline year-over-year by 12.35 percent, the amount of time houses are sitting on the market has decreased dramatically by 20 days since February, suggesting that a broad-based housing recovery is beginning to take hold.

A new trend in median list price has emerged in 2013. Since the beginning of the year, a growing number of the 146 markets realtor.com monitors have experienced an increase in list price year-over-year, while the number of markets that have experienced a list price decrease since last year declined. The March data shows that out of the 36 markets that registered a year-over-year decrease in median list price in the month, only six markets had a decline that was more than 5 percent, implying that these markets appear to be within easy striking distance of experiencing house price appreciation in 2013.

California markets continue to show impressive recovery, and Denver, Detroit and Seattle are three new markets showing promising growth. Since March 2011 in Denver, the median age of inventory (a measure of the balance between supply and demand) has dropped from 46 to 24 days. Denver continues to remain in the top five nationally lowest age of inventory as it did in 2011, a testament to its consistent leadership in the housing recovery. In March 2013, Detroit has risen to realtor.com®’s 11th spot nationally in its year-over-year list price increases, ahead of hot California markets such as Stockton and San Diego and one spot below San Francisco. The amount of inventory in Detroit decreased 26.26 percent year-over-year, and the median age of inventory is only 45 days compared with 71 in March 2011. Seattle experienced a dramatic decrease of 40.17 percent in inventory year-over-year, helping to ignite an increase in median list price of 15.9 percent since last year. Seattle also experienced a decrease in median age of inventory of 21.21 percent month-over-month, another indication that new listings are entering the local market.

National Data

• In March, the total number of single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops for sale in the U.S. (1,529,432) increased by 2.36 percent month-over-month. On an annual basis, however, inventory decreased by 15.22 percent.

• The national median list price for single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops ($190,000) increased by .05 percent both year-over-year and month-over-month in March.

• The median age of inventory of for sale listings fell to 78 days in March, down 20.41 percent from February and 12.35 percent below the median age one year ago (March 2012).

Local Data

• California continues to lead the list of the country’s top performing housing markets with largest year-over-year decline in for-sale inventories. Seattle is the only market outside of California in the top 10, and experienced a decline of 40.17 percent in for-sale inventories year-over-year. The 10 markets with the largest year-over-year declines in inventory are Stockton-Lodi, Sacramento, Orange County, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Ventura, San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino and Seattle. Of the 146 markets realtor.com monitors, only nine experienced an increase in for-sale inventory.

• On an annual basis, March median list prices were up by 5 percent or more in 52 markets, while only six markets experienced a decline of more than 5 percent. California markets continue to experience the largest median list prices year-over-year, in addition to the Phoenix market. While Detroit and Fresno, Calif., did not make the list of top 10 performers for median list price, both markets did see list prices increase more than 40 percent year-over-year.

• The 10 areas with the longest time on market continued to include the coastal areas of the Carolinas and the resort communities of Santa Fe, N.M., and Asheville, N.C. In addition, four older industrialized areas also appear on the list: Reading, Pa.; Portland, Maine; Albany N.Y.; and Philadelphia. However, with the exceptions of Albany and Philadelphia, the average age of the inventory in the remaining areas is down compared with one year ago.

Realtor.com® regularly tracks real estate data and develops monthly reports featuring the number of listings, median age of inventory and median list price across the U.S. and in specific markets, as well as provides year-over-year and month-over-month changes. These reports are the only ones pulled directly from the realtor.com database, with the majority of listings updated every 15 minutes from more than 800 multiple listing services. For more information on Move, Inc., visit www.move.com or one of its many online real estate properties, including realtor.com®, at www.realtor.com.

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