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Realtor.com® March 2014 Housing Report: National Growth in Housing Inventory & Days on Market Signal Healthier Market for Spring

by | Apr 21, 2014

SAN JOSE, CA, April 17, 2014 -- Realtor.com®, a leader in online real estate operated by Move, Inc., today released its National Housing Trend Report for March 2014. The report shows year-over-year growth in inventory and days on market, which are welcome signs for spring home buyers. Combined with modest price increases, this growth speaks to a healthier market currently than in the early home buying season in 2013.

Data from realtor.com® reveals the number of homes for sale on realtor.com® in March rose 9.5 percent above March 2013 levels, to 1,841,844 units. The median list price of $199,900 was 5.3 percent higher than it was in March of last year, and the median age of inventory increased 22.9 percent above year-ago figures, to 102 days. These trends suggest that the market is more balanced than it was in 2013, when a shortfall in available supply led to double-digit increases in home price in many markets.

Added inventory may mean more affordable prices in many markets for the first-time and move-up buyer alike. More homes on the market is a particularly good sign for first-time home buyers, for whom lack of inventory in 2013 led to intense competition and created one more barrier to home ownership.

"Bidding wars in many markets last year frequently elevated offer prices beyond the reach of first-time buyers who could scarcely save for the down payment," said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move. "While inventory is still low, the continuing annual lift in the number of homes on the market that we've seen over the first months of 2014 is an indicator that buying conditions this year may be notably improved from the frenzied pace of last spring."

While these signs are positive, home sales activity remains sluggish, and low inventories remain a significant factor in housing market health. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index for February 2014 showed a 10.5 percent decline compared to the same period in 2013, the eighth-straight month of decline for pending sales. However, the number of contracts signed has remained fairly stable over the past three months, and NAR reported that buyer traffic is showing a modest turnaround.

National Key Market Indicators for March 2014

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Key market highlights:

  • Price increases are strong in CaliforniaNevada: While California and Nevada markets continue to figure prominently in the list of areas experiencing the largest year-over-year increases in median list prices; both Houston and Columbia, MO are new to the list, replacing Orange County, Calif. and Los Angeles.

10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with the Greatest List Price Increases, Year over Year

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DenverAustin in the spotlight for few days on market: Denver has taken the top position for fewest days on market, unseating Oakland, Calif. for the first time since November 2013. While Austin is new to the top 10 list at just over half the national average of 102 days, the other markets have been there for many months, and are in the process of a vigorous housing recovery. The average year-over-year increase in median list price in these markets was just under 15 percent.

10 MSAs with Fewest Median Days on Market

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  • On the rise: Denver, Austin, Houston and Chicago: With declining inventories and days on market year over year, and double-digit increases in list price, these markets appear to be in a similar supply-driven adjustment process that led to rapid home price appreciation in California in 2013. However, the inventory deficits are not as large, suggesting that these markets are unlikely to experience the kind of unsustainable appreciation that occurred in California through much of last year.
  • Market volatility remains: The trend toward moderation has yet to reach a handful of markets in California,Arizona and Florida that consistently made headlines during the height of the recession. While last year, many of these markets – Stockton, Calif., Fresno, Calif., Bakersfield, Calif., Riverside, Calif. and Phoenix - experienced some of the most severe inventory shortages and soaring prices, this year these volatile markets are experiencing simultaneous surges in prices and inventory, year over year. If sellers remain too confident and raise prices too fast, then fewer transactions may take place.
  • Month-over-month inventory increases are moderating: Of the 146 markets tracked by realtor.com®, the number of markets with declining inventories year over year increased from 44 in February to 51 markets in March, reversing the steady drop in the number of markets with declining inventories that had been occurring since mid-2013. Additionally, the number of markets with increasing inventories dropped from 99 in February to 91 markets. This departure from recent trends could forecast a slowing of the inventory increases of the past several months.

Realtor.com® regularly tracks real estate data and develops monthly reports featuring the number of listings, median age of inventory and median list price across the U.S. and in specific markets, as well as providing year-over-year and month-over-month changes. These reports are the only ones pulled directly from the realtor.com® database, where 90 percent of listings are updated every 15 minutes from more than 800 MLSs. We regularly review and update historical data in order to provide the most accurate and comprehensive market information available. For more information on Move, please visit www.move.com or one of its many online real estate properties including realtor.com®.

About realtor.com®

Operated by Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE), realtor.com® helps connect people with the content, tools and expertise they need to find their perfect home. As the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®, realtor.com® empowers consumers to make the smartest decisions when it comes to finding a home by leveraging direct connections with more than 800 MLSs to deliver the most accurate and up-to-date listing information in neighborhoods across the country, and by making timely and meaningful connections between consumers and REALTORS®. Whether through desktop, mobile, or tablet versions, realtor.com® is where home happens.

About MOVE, Inc.

Move, Inc. (NASDAQ:MOVE), a leader in online real estate, operates: realtor.com®, the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®; Move.com, a leading destination for new homes and rental listings, moving, home and garden, and home finance; ListHub™, the leading syndicator of real estate listings; Moving.com™; SeniorHousingNet; SocialBios; Doorsteps®; TigerLead®; Top Producer® Systems and FiveStreet. Move, Inc. is based in San Jose, California.


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