Years of shrinking inventory gave way in November to a second consecutive month of year-over-year growth in the number of homes for sale, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report. The apparent reason: Home sales declined for the fourth consecutive month when compared to the same months in 2017. Even so, home prices remained strong.
“The road to market normalization can be bumpy,” says Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX. “It’s good to see the small uptick in inventory, and the drop in November sales isn’t too surprising, given the recent trends, the midterm elections and the earlier-than-usual Thanksgiving holiday. As we near year-end, three main themes appear clear: Buyers are grappling with affordability issues and tight inventory; sellers are unsure how to react to the cooling market; and homes priced properly are still selling rather quickly. All three underscore the fact that the guidance of a professional agent is even more critical in times like these.”
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in November 2018, the overall average number of home sales is down 10.1 percent compared to October 2018, and down 6.9 percent compared to November 2017. Nine of the 53 metro areas experienced an increase in sales year-over-year, including Burlington, Vt., +8.8 percent, Albuquerque, N.M., +6.8 percent, New Orleans, La., +5.4 percent, and Tampa, Fla., +5.1 percent.
Median Sales Price
In November 2018, the median of all 53 metro median sales prices was $235,000, equivalent to October 2018, and up 4 percent from November 2017. Only two metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in median sales price: Honolulu, Hawaii, -3.2 percent, and Birmingham, Ala., -0.7 percent. Three metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages: Boise, Idaho, +18.2 percent, Las Vegas, Nev., +12.2 percent, and Wichita, Kan., +11.4 percent.
Days on Market
The average days on market for homes sold in November 2018 was 51, up three days from the average in October 2018, and down three days from the November 2017 average. The metro areas with the lowest days on market were Omaha, Neb., at 26; San Francisco, Calif., at 31; Boise, Idaho, and Nashville, Tenn., both at 33; and, at 34, Salt Lake City, Utah, Denver, Colo., and Las Vegas, Nev. The highest days on market averages were in Augusta, Maine, at 110, Hartford, Conn., at 90, and, at 78, Chicago, Ill., and Miami, Fla. 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 November 2018 was down 7.1 percent from October 2018 and up 3 percent from November 2017. Based on the rate of home sales in November, the months supply of inventory increased to 3.9 from 3.5 in October 2018, and increased compared to November 2017 at 3.6. A six-month supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In November 2018, all of the 53 metro areas surveyed except Miami, Fla., at 9.0, and Augusta, Maine, at 7.0, reported a months supply at or less than six, which is typically considered a seller’s market. The markets with the lowest months supply of inventory were, at 2.0, San Francisco, Calif., Boise, Idaho, and Denver, Colo., with Minneapolis, Minn., next at 2.2.
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