For the first time since the start of the housing recovery in 2012, Realtor.com says the end of the annual peak buying season passed this year without any outside economic influences creeping in.
"In July 2012 and 2013, we saw external economic factors overwhelm the healthy gains established in the housing market during the spring home buying season," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com. "This year, we're ending the traditional season with high buyer and seller confidence demonstrated by price appreciation, increases in inventory and quick home sales."
The company cited concerns of an economic crisis in the eurozone in 2012 and last year's upward trend in mortgage rates as two factors in the past that weakened consumer confidence and hurt demand for big-ticket items like homes.
According to data presented by Realtor.com, the number of homes on the market as of the end of July increased 2.3 percent compared to last year and 4.5 percent compared to the previous month, increasing to nearly 1.98 million. That improvement compares to a 6.4 percent drop in inventory recorded in July 2013 and a 14.1 percent drop the year before that.
The company attributes the uptick in housing stock to a 7.5 percent year-over-year increase in the median home listing price, bringing it up to $214,900 (a 0.1 percent decline from June) and drawing more sellers to the market.
Despite the rise in prices, buyers continue to snap up available properties at a faster pace than last year: Realtor.com reports the median age of inventory in July was 82 days, down from 85 days in 2013 and 102 days in 2012.
Smoke only expects things to improve through the rest of 2014.
"This is the first time, since the beginning of the recovery, that we expect to see positive momentum throughout the second half of the year. While seasonal patterns are emerging in July month-to-month comparisons, all other metrics point to fundamental market health and a build-up of momentum," he said.