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Inventory Finally Shows Signs of Growth in April, Rises Monthly

While low inventory continues to curb home sales, April may have seen the first signs that the supply situation is turning around, ""RE/MAX"":http://www.remax.com/ says in its latest National Housing Report.


According to RE/MAX's data, taken from a survey of multiple listings service (MLS) data from 52 U.S. metro areas, the months' supply of homes for sale at the April's sales pace was 3.6 months--the lowest supply since the National Housing Report began in August 2008. (RE/MAX considers a balanced supply to be 6 months).

However, the company observed a monthly increase in April in the overall number of homes for sale--the first since June 2010. In addition, the year-over-year percentage drop in inventory was 26.6 percent, the lowest annual drop in the last 12 months, perhaps marking a turning point for housing supply.

""Low inventories contribute to a limited growth in sales, preventing some buyers from closing on the home of their choice. But if inventories can rise to a more balanced level, the recovery should strengthen and experience even more home sales,"" RE/MAX said in its report.


At the same time, closed transactions and prices continued to rise on both a monthly and yearly basis. April's report shows an 8.1 percent increase in closed transactions over March and a 10.5 percent increase over April 2012. Agents reporting to RE/MAX are noting increased traffic and say they expect the summer selling season to be even stronger than last year's.

Of the 52 areas surveyed in April, 41 reported higher sales volume than April 2012, and 25 reported double-digit gains, including Honolulu, Hawaii (53.2 percent); Burlington, Vermont (40.3 percent); Albuquerque, New Mexico (40.2 percent); Charlotte, North Carolina (39.4 percent); and Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina (38.1 percent).

Meanwhile, the median price for all homes sold in April was $177,200, a 4.7 percent monthly increase and a 10.7 percent yearly rise. April marks the 15th month in which the national median price has increased on an annual basis.

Of the 52 areas surveyed, only four posted year-over-year declines in median price: Los Angeles, California (-9.1 percent); Albuquerque, New Mexico (-6.3 percent); Cleveland, Ohio (-1.8 percent); and Providence, Rhode Island (-0.3 percent). Out of the remaining 42 metros, 21 reported double-digit price gains.

""April was exactly what we needed at this time in the housing recovery. Home sales and prices continued to rise, while we started to see improvement in the number of homes for sale,"" said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX. ""It may take a few months, but as prices rise and more homeowners gain positive equity, we should see an increase in the inventory of homes for sale, resulting in a much better selection for potential homebuyers.""

The average days on market for all homes sold in April was 77, eight days fewer than March and 19 days fewer than April 2012, RE/MAX reported.


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