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RISMEDIA, December 21, 2010—In recent months, the real estate market has been impacted by several outside forces that have resulted in some uncertainty. While the tax credit has expired and some lenders are still working their way out of a foreclosure moratorium, the market is struggling to find secure footing. A monthly survey of 54 metropolitan areas indicates that sales were 4.9% below those in September and 25.9% below sales in November 2009. However, sale declines appear to be headed in the right direction, with much smaller losses than were recorded last month. Housing inventory continues a trend of single digit declines, while home prices only fell 1.7% from last year.

“While home sales usually decline in the winter months, we are seeing a larger than normal correction this winter due to several artificial factors like the expired tax credit,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. “Despite predictions about falling home prices, they appear to be remaining stable with several markets reporting significant price increases over last year.”

Transactions–Year-Over-Year Change
Typical of the winter holiday season, transactions were down almost uniformly in all 54 metro areas with an average of 4.9% below sales in October. The top five markets experiencing month-to-month sales increases are: Jackson, MS +9.2%, Billings, MT +9.2%, Las Vegas, NV +4.7%, Birmingham, AL +3.8%, and Miami +3.6%. None of the 54 metro areas showed a sales increase from November 2009.

Median Sales Price–Year-Over-Year Change
Although many in the real estate industry still anticipate price corrections, the November RE/MAX Housing Report indicates that prices are remaining stable, with only an average 1.7% drop from last year. Of the 54 cities surveyed for this report, 36 showed price increases from last year, 17 were lower and only San Francisco remained unchanged. The top five markets with price increases were Burlington, VT +17.2%, Trenton, NJ +15.9%, Raleigh, NC +13.3%, Washington, DC +9.4% and Boston, MA +8.8%.

Days On Market–Average of 54 Metro Areas
Days on market measures the average number of days from listing to signed contract for those homes that sold during the month. For November, the average days on market for the survey’s 54 metro areas was 93 days. Only two days longer than the 91 average in October and seven days longer than the November 2009 average of 86.

Months Supply of Inventory–Average of 54 Metro Areas
November saw the inventory of homes on the market drop by 4.6% from October to a level that is just 2.3% below November 2009. Last month the average months supply of inventory for the 54 metro areas in the RE/MAX National Housing Report was 9.7. In November that number rose to 10.0, which is one full month longer than the November 2009 supply. The months supply is the number of months it would take for the current inventory to be cleared at the current rate of sales. A market balanced between buyers and sellers is assumed to be six months. The last such near-balanced market was in April 2010 when the supply stood at 5.5 months.

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