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Both home prices and home sales in September continued at levels higher than last year, according to the RE/MAX National Housing report, a survey of MLS data in 52 metropolitan areas. For the eighth consecutive month, September’s median home price was higher than the previous year. Median prices rose 7.8 percent from September 2011. Home sales followed a seasonal pattern and dropped lower than levels seen in August, but maintained a level 0.5 percent higher than sales last year. Inventory was 29.1 percent below September 2011 and may have contributed to the drop in sales from August. While low inventories are creating bidding wars in some markets, they also have resulted in prices moving higher.

“Now that the summer buying season is behind us, we can clearly see that the market made a significant rebound, and 2012 is definitely the year of the housing recovery,” says Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. “Although we still face some serious obstacles in tight lending and shrinking inventory, we believe that the housing market will continue to recover into 2013.”

Transactions – Year-Over-Year Change
September home sales fell 17.5 percent from August, but remained 0.5 percent higher than sales in September 2011. September is the fifteenth consecutive month with sales higher than the same month in the previous year. In addition to the seasonal drop from August, September sales were impacted by a continuing reduction of inventory. Of the 52 metro areas surveyed this month, only 29 saw higher sales than one year ago and just 6 saw double digit increases including: Albuquerque, N.M. +40.9 percent, Chicago, Ill. +24.1 percent Raleigh-Durham, N.C. +22.1 percent, Providence, R.I. +22.1, Nashville, Tenn. +21.0 percent and Denver, Colo. +11.4

Median Sales Price
Of all the homes sold in September in the 52 metro areas included in the RE/MAX Housing Survey, the Median Sales Price was $164,989, only 0.7 percent higher than the August median, but 7.8 percent higher than September 2011. This marks the eighth month in a row with higher prices than a year ago. Prices peaked this summer in June, but still remained higher than 2011 in July, August and September. Of the 52 metro areas surveyed for the September RE/MAX National Housing Report, an impressive 44 reported prices higher than last year, with 21 metro areas experienced double-digit gains including: Phoenix, Ariz. +33.3 percent, Miami, Fla. +23.1 percent, Atlanta, Ga. +23.0 percent, San Francisco, Calif. +22.7 percent, Detroit, Mich. +20.0 percent, and Boise Idaho +16.3 percent

Days on Market – Average of 53 Metro Areas
In September, the average Days on Market for sold homes was 81. This is unchanged from August, but represents a drop of 13 days from the 94 day average in September 2011. September represents the fourth time in the past 12 months that a Days on Market average was below 90, and it was the lowest average since June 2010. The Days on Market average continues to fall in many markets due to very low inventory. Days on Market is the number of days between first being listed in an MLS and when a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 Metro Areas
The inventory of homes-for-sale in September fell 5.3 percent from August and 29.1 percent from inventory levels seen in September 2011. Month-to-month inventories have now fallen for 27 consecutive months. While a shrinking inventory is certainly causing home prices to rise, there’s also a concern that it may also be limiting sales. Given the rate of sales in September, the average Months Supply was 5.5, about two months lower than the 7.7 average seen in September 2011. Very low Months Supply continues to be seen in San Francisco, Calif. 1.3, Los Angeles, Calif. 1.7, Orlando, Fla. 2.6, Denver, Colo. 2.6, Washington, DC 2.8, Detroit, Mich. 3.0, San Diego, Calif. 3.2. and Miami, Fla. 3.3.

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