Home sales, which lagged during the first part of 2019, continued their recent rebound with another strong month in October, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report.
October 2019 sales finished 3.9 percent higher than in October 2018. At the same time, inventory posted a steep 9.0 percent year-over-year decline across the report’s 54 metro areas, while the median sales price of $254,800 set an October record.
“October continued a recent win streak for home sales, and the market is positioned much better than it was a year ago,” says RE/MAX Holdings CEO Adam Contos. “Demand is strong, due in part to low interest rates, but buyers have limited options because inventory remains such a challenge. As a result, prices keep rising. Fortunately, key forecasts suggest an increase in new homes moving onto the market next year, which would help address the inventory situation and potentially slow the steady price gains we’ve seen for so long.”
With May, July and September already in the positive column, October became the fourth month of the past six to post a year-over-year increase in sales, which hadn’t happened for nine months prior to May.
Meanwhile, inventory resumed the skid that has dominated the last decade. October’s year-over-year decline of 9.0 percent was the largest for any month since May 2018. The downturn resulted in October’s months of inventory dropping to 3.1—the lowest October amount in the report’s 11-year history. The 49 days on market was the second-lowest figure for October in report history, trailing only 2018’s 48.
The median sales price of $254,800 set an October record for the report and the 8.4 percent increase year-over-year was the highest for the month since 2013.
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in October 2019, the overall average number of home sales is up 0.4 percent compared to September 2019, and up 3.9 percent compared to October 2018. Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Los Angeles, Calif., at +24.4 percent, Charlotte, N.C., at +19.1 percent, and Burlington, Vt., at +16.1 percent.
Median Sales Price
In October 2019, the median of all 54 metro median sales prices was $254,800, up 0.1 percent from September 2019, and up 8.4 percent from October 2018. Three metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages: Trenton, N.J., at +20.9 percent, Albuquerque, N.M., at +15.8 percent, and Boise, Idaho, at +10.9 percent. Two metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in median sales price: San Francisco, Calif., at -2.6 percent, and Burlington, Vt., at -0.8 percent.
Days on Market
The average days on market for homes sold in October 2019 was 49, up three days from the average in September 2019, and up one day from the average in October 2018. The metro areas with the lowest days on market were Omaha, Neb., at 21, Cincinnati, Ohio, at 27, and Nashville, Tenn., at 28. The highest days on market averages were in Des Moines, Iowa, at 102, Augusta, Maine, at 96, and Miami, Fla., at 86. Days on market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.
Months Supply of Inventory
The number of homes for sale in October 2019 was down 5.5 percent from September 2019 and down 9.0 percent from October 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in October 2019, the months supply of inventory decreased to 3.1 compared to 3.4 in September 2019 and decreased compared to 4.0 in October 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In October 2019, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, only Miami, Fla., at 6.9, reported a months supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest months supply of inventory were San Francisco, Calif., at 1.6 and a three-way tie among Denver, Colo., Manchester, N.H., and Phoenix, Ariz., at 1.8.
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