The record speed of January home sales may signal that buyers aren’t waiting around for the typical spring selling season to begin, according to the February RE/MAX National Housing Report.
“We recently saw the groundhog predict six more weeks of winter, but January housing numbers are telling a different story,” says Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX. “It looks like the spring selling season may have arrived early because homebuyers are not slowing down. The speed of this market is on pace with what we saw in the prime of the 2017 selling season.”
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in January 2018, the overall average number of home sales decreased 27.4 percent compared to December 2017 and decreased 2.8 percent compared to January 2017. Twenty of the 53 metro areas experienced an increase in sales year-over-year including, Milwaukee, Wis., +13.6 percent, Albuquerque, N.M., +12.8 percent, Kansas City, Mo., +12.5 percent, and Boise, Idaho, +12 percent.
Median Sales Price
In January 2018, the median of all 53 metro median sales prices was $224,000, down 4.7 percent from December 2017 but up 6.7 percent from January 2017. Billings, Mont., was the only metro area to see a year-over-year decrease in median sales price at -6.4 percent. Eleven metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Boise, Idaho, +18.7 percent, Las Vegas, Nev., +16.2 percent, San Francisco, Calif., +14 percent, and Orlando, Fla., +13.8 percent.
Days on Market
The average days on market for homes sold in January 2018 was 60, up three days from the average in December 2017, and down six days from the January 2017 average. The metro areas with the lowest days on market were San Francisco, Calif., at 31, Omaha, Neb., at 34, and Nashville, Tenn., at 36. The highest days on market averages were in Augusta, Maine, at 109, Chicago, Ill., at 96, and Hartford, Conn., at 93. 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 January 2018 was down 4.8 percent from December 2017, and down 14.8 percent from January 2017. Based on the rate of home sales in December, the months supply of inventory decreased to 3.4 from December 2017 at 3.7, as well as decreased compared to January 2017 at 3.8. A 6.0-months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In January 2018, 49 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply at or less than 6.0, which is typically considered a seller’s market. The metro areas that saw a months supply above 6.0, which is typically considered a buyer’s market, were Birmingham, Ala., at 8.2, Augusta, Maine, at 7.5, Miami, Fla., at 7.1, and New Orleans, La., at 6.8. The markets with the lowest months supply of inventory continued to be in the West, with Denver, Colo., San Francisco, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., at 1.1.
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