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2016 was the best year for home sales since the recession, with the RE/MAX National Housing Report recording the highest sales in the report’s eight-year history. Though home sales in December came in at 1.8 percent below December 2015, half of the markets analyzed saw a year-over-year increase in sales, while two-thirds saw a month-over-month increase, according to the report.

“Much like 2015, we saw a mostly healthy housing market in 2016 that posted steady growth in sales and prices,” says Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, chairman of the board and co-founder. “We’re back to pre-recession levels in many markets, with 2017 forecast to be another solid year. We’ll have to wait and see what impact rising interest rates will have.”

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Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in December, the overall average number of home sales fell 1.8 percent compared to December 2015—but nearly half of the 53 metro areas experienced an increase in sales year-over-year, with three experiencing double-digit increases. The markets with the largest increase in sales included Wilmington-Dover, Del., +21.4 percent, Honolulu, Hawaii, +19.7 percent, Augusta, Maine, +16.1 percent, Las Vegas, Nev., +7.9 percent, and Providence, R.I., +7.3 percent.

Median Sales Price
In December, the median of all 53 metro median sales prices was $216,000, down 1.8 percent from November but up 4.9 percent from December 2015. Of the 53 metro areas surveyed, all but two (Des Moines, Iowa, and New Orleans, La.) saw year-over-year increases or remained unchanged, with nine rising by double-digit percentages. The largest double-digit increases were seen in Birmingham, Ala., +17.1 percent, Tampa, Fla., +16.8 percent, Charlotte, N.C., +13.2 percent, Seattle, Wash., 12.9 percent, and Orlando, Fla., +12.3 percent.

Days on Market
The average days on market, or number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed, for homes sold in December was 62, up three days from the average in November 2016, but down five days from the December 2015 average. The two metro areas with the lowest days on market were Omaha, Neb., and Denver, Colo., both at 36. The highest days on market averages continued to be in Augusta, Maine, at 141, and Burlington, Vt., at 101.

Months Supply of Inventory
The number of homes for sale in December was down 14.0 percent from November, and down 17.9 percent from December 2015. Based on the rate of home sales in December, the months supply of Inventory was 4.2, compared to November at 4.0 and December 2015 at 4.9. A 6.0-month supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In December, 47 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply of less than 6.0, which is typically considered a seller’s market. One reported a balanced market at 6.0, while the remaining five saw a months supply above 6.0, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest months supply of inventory continued to be in the West, with San Francisco, Calif., at 1.2, Seattle, Wash., at 1.5, and Denver, Colo., at 1.6.

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