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The Housing Market Heats Up

Things always warm up in the spring, but experts are detecting record-breaking heat this year—at least in the housing market. Inventories are low, homes are flying off the market, and prices continue to rise, according to Realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Trends Report for April.

The report deemed this “the hottest spring housing market on record,” and a cool-down does not appear imminent.

“The dynamics of increased competition and buyer frustration are unlikely to change this spring,” according to analysts at Realtor.com. “In fact, the direction of the trend is pointing to a growing mismatch between the pool of prospective buyers and existing inventory.”

The hottest market in the nation is Midland, Texas, according to Realtor.com, which compared the 300 largest metro areas. Midland was followed by Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts-New Hampshire; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California; Columbus, Ohio; and Vallejo-Fairfield, California. Four of the 10 hottest housing markets are located in California.

Nationally, the median list price was up 8 percent over the year in April and 3 percent since March. The national median listing price in April was $290,000.

Of the 300 largest metros in the nation, 180 posted yearly price gains in April, leading Realtor.com to say, “the damage has been done and the majority of markets are unlikely to see improvements any time soon.”

Homes continued to sell with increasing speed in April, with a 5 percent drop in the median age of inventory from last year and a 9 percent drop from the previous month. The median age of housing inventory in April was just 59 days.

On the other hand, the market experienced a hint of relief from the pervasive heat in April’s inventory count. While inventory declined 6 percent over the year in April, Realtor.com noted this was a slower pace than previously charted. Month-over-month, the market actually posted an increase in inventory, up 5 percent from March.

At the metro level, fewer markets are experiencing declining inventory, and fewer markets posted double-digit price gains in April.

The number of markets that have the “deadly combination” of double-digit price gains and declining inventory dropped from 115 in April 2017 to 62 in April 2018.

Local dynamics show the heat is being spread out more broadly than before, lighting the spark in more areas but stopping the fire in others,” according to Realtor.com.

Homes sold fastest in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, where the median age of inventory is just 19 days. The median age of inventory was shorter than 30 days in San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward California; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Ogden-Clearfield, Utah.

The oldest inventory is in Bangor, Maine, where the median age of inventory is 159.5 days.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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