2013 set to be an even better year for US house prices and sales

Property prices remain higher than a year ago

Residential property and sales in the United States remain higher than a year ago and 2013 is set to be an even better year.

The most recent RE/MAX National Housing Report, which covers data from 52 metropolitan areas, shows August home prices were flat compared with July, but 6.3% higher than prices seen in August 2011.

Median home prices have risen above last year’s prices for seven consecutive months and home sales were 8.5% above the mark set last year, and for fourteen straight months have pushed higher than last year.

It also says that inventory was 29.7% below August 2011 and remains a serious challenge to the real estate market recovery. With bidding wars in some areas, buyers are facing increasing difficulties finding their dream home and sales numbers are beginning to be negatively impacted. As inventory continues to shrink, the average months supply of homes for sale was just 4.9.

‘As we move from summer to fall it’s very encouraging that this year’s home selling season began strong and finished even stronger,’ said Margaret Kelly, chief executive officer of RE/MAX.

‘Nearly every month in 2012 experienced increased sales and prices over 2011, showing that we’ve definitely passed the bottom and we’re looking forward to 2013 being an even better year,’ she added.

August home sales rose 2.5% higher than sales in July and 8.5% higher than sales at the same time last year. August marks the 14 consecutive month with sales higher than the same month in the previous year.

Despite the apparent loss of sales to a tight inventory, historically low interest rates and renewed consumer interest have resulted in strong sales in August and through the entire summer.

Of the 52 metro areas surveyed 44 saw higher sales than a year ago and 29 of those metro areas saw double digit increases including Trenton, New Jersey up 35.6%, Raleigh Durham in North Carolina up 28.9%, Chicago up 28.1% and Nashville up 27.8%.

The median sales price of homes sold in August was $168,685, which was essentially flat from July, down only 0.2%. Prices peaked this summer in June, but remained higher than 2011 in both July and August.

The August median price was 6.3% higher than last year, which marks the seventh month in a row with a year on year increase. Of the 52 metro areas surveyed 46 reported price increases over last year, with 15 metro areas experiencing double digit gains including Phoenix with a 33.9% increase in median prices, San Francisco up 22.6%, Las Vegas up 19%, and Miami up 17.8%.

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