Though posting a typical seasonal drop-off from August, September’s U.S. home sales represented the most of any September in the nine-year history of the RE/MAX National Housing Report, recently released for September. Home sales dropped 11.7 percent from August to September—nearly the same as the 11.0 percent average decline over the previous eight years of the report. Sales increased 2.0 percent, however, over September 2015, which had previously been the best September.
The September median sales price of $219,780 was 5.1 percent above a year ago. In a rare occurrence, not a single metro posted a year-over-year price drop. The largest price gains were reported in Birmingham, Ala. (17.0 percent) and Miami (15.2 percent). The average months supply of inventory rose from 3.4 in August to 3.9—the highest since February—but it is still far below the six months supply considered to be a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. Eight markets, predominantly in the Northeast, have a six- (or more) month supply. Meanwhile, 19 have three months or less, with the majority being in the West.
“The market usually sees fewer home sales in September, as buyers make a seasonal transition from summer to fall,” says Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, chairman of the board and co-founder. “Even so, sales were the highest of any September since we launched our Housing Report in 2008. Also, price increases continue to be in the moderate 5 percent year-over-year range. Overall, this is a market that most everyone can be satisfied with.”
In the 52 metro areas surveyed in September, the average number of home sales increased by 2.0 percent compared to one year ago, which makes the eighth month this year with a year-over-year increase in sales. This marks the strongest September of sales since the report’s inception in 2008. However, September showed an 11.7 percent decrease from August, but this is in line with decreases in previous years. This month, 34 markets experienced an increase in sales year-over-year, with six markets seeing double-digit increases. Those markets include Trenton, N.J., +17.9 percent, Augusta, Maine, +14.1 percent, Des Moines, Iowa, +13.6 percent, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., +11.6 percent, Boise, Idaho, +11.3 percent, and Seattle, Wash., 10.6 percent.
Median Sales Price
In September, the median of all 52 metro median sales prices was $219,780, down slightly at -3.1 percent from August 2016 and up 5.1 percent from September 2015. The median price in Providence, R.I. was unchanged from last year, but every other metro area in the report saw year-over-year price increases, with 12 rising by double-digit percentages. The largest double-digit increases were seen in Birmingham, Ala. (+17.0% percent), Miami, Fla. (+15.2 percent), Tampa, Fla. (+14.6 percent), Portland, Ore. (+14.5 percent), Denver, Colo. (+13.1 percent) and Boise, Idaho (+12.6 percent).
Days on Market
The average days on market for homes sold in September was 56, up two days from the average in August 2016, but down five days from September 2015. September becomes the 42nd consecutive month with a days on market average of 80 or less. The three metro areas with the lowest days on market are Omaha, Denver and San Francisco at 25, 27 and 28, respectively. The highest days on market averages continue to be in Augusta, Maine, at 128, and Des Moines, Iowa, at 98. Days on market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.
Months Supply of Inventory
The number of homes for sale in September was down 2.6 percent from August, and down 15.1 percent from September 2015. Based on the rate of home sales in September, the months supply of inventory was 3.9, compared to both last month and last year at 3.4 and 4.5, respectively. A 6.0-month supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. This month, only six metro areas reported a months supply of inventory at 6.0 or above. The markets with the lowest months supply of inventory are San Francisco, Calif., 1.6, Seattle, Wash., 1.7, and Denver, 1.7.
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