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As the result of unusually strong winter storms, January home sales fell lower while prices continued a trend of double digit increases. The RE/MAX National Housing Report, a survey of MLS data in 52 metropolitan areas, found the January median home price of $173,475 was 11.6% higher than the price in January 2013. Winter storms that impacted many regions of the country caused numerous delays or cancellations of closings, bringing home sales 7.1% lower than one year ago. Still, driven by a limited inventory, home prices rose 11.6% higher on a year-to-year basis. With the rate of sales in January, the Months’ Supply of inventory fell to 5.3 months. On a yearly basis, the January inventory marked the 10th consecutive month with fewer losses than the previous month.

“We usually expect to see fewer home sales in the winter months, but January experienced particularly severe storms in a large part of the country, which disrupted appraisals, inspections and closings,” says Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX CEO. “However, the real story for home sales in 2014 will begin to unfold in the coming spring and summer months.”

The January RE/MAX National Housing Report found a 26.9% monthly decrease in home sales, and a 7.1% decrease from January 2013. This makes January the second time in the last 31 months that there has been year-to-year sales decline. Although December and January regularly record the lowest home sales of the year, widespread winter storms during these two months caused numerous delayed or canceled closings. Of all 52 metro areas surveyed in January, 39 saw year-to-year sales decrease. Despite the weather difficulties 13 metros did experience sales higher than last year.

Median Sales Price
In the 52 metro areas included in the January survey, the Median Price for all homes sold was $173,475. This price is 6.3% less than the Median Price in December, but 11.6% higher than one year ago. On a year-to-year basis, the median sales price 45 has now increased for 24 consecutive months. Higher home prices are attributed mostly to a limited inventory supply and continuing buyer demand. Among the 52 metro areas surveyed, 45 reported higher sales prices than one year ago. Of those, 17 metros reported double-digit increases.

Days on the Market
The average number of Days on Market for all homes sold in January was 75, just two days more than the average in December, but 12 days less than the average in January 2013. January marks the 20th consecutive month with an average Days on Market below 90. The low Days on Market average is associated with continued high demand and a reduced inventory of homes for sale. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and when a sales contract is signed.

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