Last month’s home sales posted the highest year-over-year gain for January in 11 years, increasing an average of 10.5 percent in the 54 metro areas covered in the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report. Meanwhile, the 15.6 percent year-over-year drop in inventory was the largest decline since May 2017 and marked the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year shrinkage in the number of U.S. homes for sale.
Despite very low inventory, January and December (+13.5 percent) marked the first back-to-back months with double-digit year-over-year growth in home sales since June and July of 2015.
“Strong buyer demand continues to be the defining theme in the housing market,” says Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. “January sales were encouraging, and were likely pushed in part by millennials coming into the market. It’s a massive group of people, with many of them forming households and looking to buy their first homes. Affordability and limited supply are still constraints, but overall, housing is in a much better place than it was a year ago.”
January’s median sales price of $256,000—though 3.4 percent below December—was 8.9 percent higher than January 2019 and extended the string of year-over-year price increases to 13 months.
In the nearly 12-year history of the report, three January records were set or tied last month:
- Fewest Months Supply of Inventory: 3.1
- Fewest Days on Market: 59 (Tied with January 2019)
- Highest Median Sales Price: $256,000
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in January 2020, the overall average number of home sales is down 26.9 percent compared to December 2019, and up 10.5 percent compared to January 2019. Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Los Angeles, Calif., at +31.9 percent, Burlington, Vt., at +28.7 percent, and New Orleans, La., at +22.5 percent.
Median Sales Price
In January 2020, the median of all 54 metro median sales prices was $256,000, down 3.4 percent from December 2019, and up 8.9 percent from January 2019. Only one metro area, Wichita, Kan., at -2.8 percent, saw a year-over-year decrease in median sales price. Thirteen metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Trenton, N.J., at +24.4 percent, Birmingham, Ala., at +18.6 percent, and Boise, Idaho, at +16.6 percent.
Days on Market
The average days on market for homes sold in January 2020 was 59, up six days from the average in December 2019, and equivalent to the average in January 2019. The metro areas with the lowest days on market were Nashville, Tenn., at 34, Omaha, Neb., at 35, and a three-way tie between Birmingham, Ala., Cincinnati, Ohio, and San Diego, Calif., at 43. The highest days on market averages were in Des Moines, Iowa, at 107, Miami, Fla., at 105, and Augusta, Maine, 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 2020 was down 5.0 percent from December 2019 and down 15.6 percent from January 2019. Based on the rate of home sales in January 2020, the months supply of inventory decreased to 3.1 compared to 3.6 in December 2019 and decreased compared to 4.5 in January 2019. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In January 2020, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, seven metro areas reported a months supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the highest months supply of inventory were Indianapolis, Ind., at 8.8, Miami, Fla., at 6.8, and Chicago, Ill., at 6.2. The markets with the lowest months supply of inventory were Denver, Colo., at 1.2, San Francisco, Calif., at 1.3, and a four-way tie among Boise, Idaho, Charlotte, N.C., Phoenix, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash., at 1.4.
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