State of the Housing Market: Median List Prices Rise, Inventories Increase
Contrary to seasonal trends, the median price per square foot of housing is up by about 10 percent year over year in some of the nation's largest cities. In addition, inventory on a month-over-month basis has increased.
Taken together, these two data points suggest that sellers are beginning to return to the housing market as list prices have increased.
According to SpotProperty's State of the Housing Market report, the median list price per square foot in 33 of the nation's largest cities is up compared to this time of year in 2011 and 2010.
In November, the median list price per square foot was $169. This represents a 9.7 percent increase over 2011, when the median list price per square foot was $154. Compared to 2010, there was about a 2.5 percent increase. At that time the median list price per square foot was $165.
The increase in median list price across the major metro areas indicates rising house prices, and a strengthening housing market heading into the final month of 2012.
One of the main drivers for rising prices is the incredibly low inventory. With fewer homes on the market on a year over year basis, list prices have increased because of greater home buyer competition.
Total Inventory Higher Than October
We found that on a month-over-month basis total inventory in our reporting areas has risen, if only slightly. In November 2012, there were 105,077 homes on the market compared to 102,877 during October. While this represents only a slight increase in available homes, it goes against seasonal trends.
As a comparison, in both 2011 and 2010 total inventory dropped from October to November. In 2011, there were 139,340 homes on the market in October. This figured dropped to 131,486 in November. Furthermore, there were 164,083 homes available in October 2010, while there were 162,264 available in November.
Traditionally, the winter is the slowest time of the year for the housing market with fewer homes on the market. Spring and summer are the most active months of the year for a number of reasons, including pleasant weather, which can improve the visual impact of a home and make moving less chaotic.
The fact that inventory increased on a month-over-month basis is a sign that the housing market has begun to recover.
Inventory Down on a Yearly Basis
Nonetheless, while inventory is up on a monthly basis, it has fallen in comparison to 2011 and 2010.
In November 2012, there were 105,077 homes available, while in 2011 there were 131,486 homes available. This equates to a difference of 26,409, or a 20 percent decrease when compared to 2011.
In 2010, there were 162,264 homes on the market. In the past two years inventory dropped by 57,187 homes. In other words, there was a 35 percent decrease.
Top 10 Cities to Sell A Home In
Mesa, AZ dethroned Oakland for the #1 city to sell a home in November. Mesa climbed 9 spots in the past month--going from the 10 slot to the first, mostly because of an increase in the city's year-over-year median list price. Phoenix, AZ was a close second, making Arizona the hottest selling market in the country right now.
Meanwhile, Oakland fell in the rankings because of improving seller conditions in multiple other cities. While no longer the best city to sell a home in, Oakland remains a strong area to place a house on the market.
According to our data, the top 10 cities to sell a home in are:
- Mesa (+9)
- Phoenix (+7)
- Las Vegas (+4)
- San Diego (-2)
- Oakland (-4)
- Portland (+13)
- San Francisco (-4)
- Los Angeles (-2)
- Miami (+3)
- Long Beach (-5)
SpotProperty's State of the Housing Market examines some of the country's largest cities to determine the top areas for home sellers. The metric uses a combination of market statistics, which includes a city's household median list price, median days on market, and inventory.