According to the latest figures from Re/Max National Housing report, residential property sales in the US increased for the seventh consecutive month in January. Sales numbers are now 3.4% above levels seen this time last year in 53 metropolitan areas surveyed by the report.
The median price of homes sold in these areas was $129,306 in January which is just 0.8% less than a year earlier, but is 3.4% less than December. Foreclosure numbers have fallen for 19 consecutive months and inventory is down 24.1% on last year, having fallen by 4.2% month on month in January.
There are now hopes that if sales figures continue to surge ahead, and inventory levels don't substantially increase, sales prices may begin to rise this year.
Out of all the metro areas included in the January survey, 20 saw double digit increases in sales compared to a year earlier, while 36 saw higher levels of sales.
Albuquerque performed the best with sales up 33.9%, while property sales in Atlanta increased by 26.3%. Chicago also performed strongly with sales increasing by 15.3%.
New home starts also grew 1.5% in January to reach their highest level since October 2008. Seasonally adjusted home starts increased to 699,000 in December, while January housing starts increased by 9.9% from 636,000 a year earlier.
Analysts at Capital Economics think these figures are hopeful signs that homebuilders are beginning to recover and are contributing towards GDP growth, although this contribution is not particularly substantial just yet. The latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index shows builders confidence has reached a four year high.