As the New Year begins, key indicators suggest most of the housing market continues to be in a stabilization and recovery mode. Compared to a year ago, the total for-sale inventory is down by -23.2 % on the national level, declining in 145 of the 146 markets tracked by Realtor.com. The national median age of the inventory is down -4.8% compared to January 2011. While U.S. median list prices declined for the second month in a row, this decline appears to be largely seasonal; on a year-over-year basis, the U.S. median list price was also up 3.69% in January. Although several major markets—including Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and Las Vegas—continue to be on a downward trend, a growing number of metropolitan areas appear to be recovering, with Florida leading the way. Recent employment gains and record-low interest rates provide additional positive signs that improvements will continue into 2012. However, the large overhang of pending foreclosure actions in states such as Florida, New Jersey and New York could easily reverse recent gains, putting the nascent recovery at risk in many areas.
National – According to real estate data released today by Realtor.com, the national inventory of for-sale single family homes, condominiums, townhouses and co-ops (SFH/CTHCOPS) declined -6.59% from December to January, and is now down -23.20% compared to a year ago. The median age of the inventory also declined on both an annual and monthly basis, and is now -4.80% below the levels observed in January 2011. However, while the median list price is up by 3.69% on an annual basis, it fell for the second month in a row, declining -1.32% between December and January. Although these declines are most likely seasonal in nature, trends in the next few months could determine the strength of the 2012 home buying season.