The home price recovery moved in a less focused and more broad-based direction in May as available listings sank, a housing trend report shows.
According to Realtor.com, the median listing price of homes in May this year was $214,900, a rise of 8 percent compared to year-ago levels. Month-over-month, prices ticked up 2.4 percent.
Of the 146 markets tracked in the survey, all but eight reported annual price improvement, Realtor.com reported.
"This May's housing market stands in significant contrast to last year in which price increases were less generalized and more concentrated in specific metropolitan areas," the company said in its report. "This broad increase in price suggests a more evenly distributed recovery and a healthier national housing market."
Part of May's increase in prices came from a 0.4 percent month-over-month drop in listings, which totaled an estimated 1.7 million. Last year, Realtor.com reports inventories were 5.8 percent higher.
At the same time, inventory shortages have eased at the local level. In May, only three markets—Stockton-Lodi, California; Boulder-Longmont, Colorado; and Houston, Texas—posted year-over-year inventory declines of more than 29 percent. A year ago, nine markets had deficits higher than that amount.
Adding to that, the handful of California markets that reported large declines last year are now seeing inventory come up, helping to moderate price gains. Last year, some of those same markets posted price increases of higher than 20 percent as inventory turned down 25 percent.
"Home prices are as high as they are because of the low inventory spread across the nation. But we are not seeing the runaway pricing of last year," said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, which operates Realtor.com. "Nor is the situation exclusive to the hotbed markets of recent years."
The company also reported available homes are moving more briskly compared to April. The median age of inventory in May was 78 days, down 4.9 percent month-over-month and level with a year ago—indicating consumer demand is on par with where it was in last year's more active market.