U.S. Seller's Market Brewing with Steady Home Price Gains, Realtors Say

U.S. Seller's Market Brewing with Steady Home Price Gains, Realtors SaySales of existing homes nudged upward in January as buyer traffic surges, inventories remain tight and home prices steadily rise — all of which is fueling suggestions by Realtors that a seller’s market is developing nationwide.
Total home resales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in January, from a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December, according to the National Association of Realtors.
That’s 9.1 percent above the 4.51 million-unit pace in January 2012.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $173,600 in January, up 12.3 percent from January 2012, which is the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.
That last occurred from July 2005 to May 2006. The January gain is the strongest since November 2005 when it was 12.9 percent above a year earlier.
Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 4.9 percent to 1.74 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.5 months in December, and is the lowest housing supply since April 2005 when it was also 4.2 months.
“Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We’ve transitioned into a seller’s market in much of the country.”
Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 23 percent of January sales, down from 24 percent in December and 35 percent in January 2012. Fourteen percent of January sales were foreclosures and 9 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20 percent below market value in January, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.
NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., said homes are selling at a faster rate.
“The typical home is selling nearly four weeks faster than it did a year ago,” Thomas said. “In this environment, Realtors® can help buyers strike a balance between moving quickly and protecting their interests, such as making offers contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection and obtaining a loan; of course, a loan pre-qualification may help too.” If you’re looking for an inspection of your home, you can do a google search for best home inspector near me to find the best-reviewed in your area.

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