The latest RE/MAX National Housing Report for January 2019, revealed that the sixth consecutive month of declining home sales in January contributed to the largest year-over-year inventory increase in at least 10 years.
The housing market seems promising for homebuyers, according to Adam Contos, CEO at RE/MAX. “The winter chill extended to the housing market in January, as home sales remained cool. The good news is that inventory levels in January continued to rise on a year-over-year basis, providing incremental improvement in what’s been a multi-year shortage of for-sale homes. This is positive for homebuyers, as the market continues to swing their way,” Contos said.
On an annual basis, year-over-year home sales declined by 11 percent while inventory grew year-over-year by an average of 6.4 percent across the report’s 54 U.S. metro areas. January marked the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year inventory growth—further reversing a decade-long trend of shrinking inventory. The year-over-year inventory growth in December 2018 was 4.7 percent was also the previous record in the report’s 10-year history.
The January 2018 median sale price of $234,000 was a report record reflecting a rise by 4.6 percent. However, the rate of sales price increase was considerably less than the 6.7 percent posted from January 2017. The report indicated that December 2018 was the only month since January 2012 to show a year-over-year decline in median sales price.
Fifty-nine days on market was a record low for January sold listings—averaging one day less than the 60 recorded in January 2018, according to the report. January’s 3.9-month supply of inventory was higher than the 3.4-month supply of January 2018.
“Underlying demand remains solid overall, as evidenced by widespread price increases. So the housing market, while not markedly busy in January, remains relatively healthy. Furthermore, with interest rates stabilizing and home-price increases slowing, the spring selling season shapes up to be as interesting as any we have seen in years,” Contos added.
The report pointed out that of the 54 metro areas surveyed in January 2019, the overall average number of home sales was down 26.1percent compared to December 2018, and down 11 percent compared to January 2018. In January 2019, the median of all 54 metro median sales prices was $234,000, down 2.5 percent from December 2018. Four metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in median sales price, including Anchorage, Alaska, at -3.9 percent, Pittsburgh, PA, at -2 percent, Trenton, New Jersey, at -1.5 percent, and Birmingham, Alabama at -0.5 percent.
The metro areas with the lowest days on market were Omaha, Nebraska at 32, Nashville, Tennessee at 41, and a three-way tie between Las Vegas, Nevada; Cincinnati, Ohio; and San Francisco, California at 43.