Realtor.com® January 2014 Housing Report Points to Early Start to Home Buying Season

Year-over-year data shows inventory increases and sustained price growth

Feb 20, 2014

Realtor.com®, the leader in online real estate operated by Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE), today released its National Housing Trend Report for January 2014. The 2014 home buying season has begun on one positive note, despite severe weather conditions across much of the country, showing an uptick in inventory a month earlier than the 2013 home buying season.

Data from realtor.com® reveals the median list price for January 2014 is 8.3 percent above levels observed in January 2013. The number of properties for sale is up 3.1 percent and the median age of inventory is essentially unchanged, indicating a transition to a less frenzied market compared to January 2013.

“January’s start compared to year-ago levels is an encouraging sign of sellers’ interest, particularly given the adverse conditions brought on by the polar vortex,” said Errol Samuelson, president of realtor.com®. “We saw the tight-supply market of last fall carry all the way into November – later than is typically expected – and this early rise in inventory is a welcome trend.  The sustained median list price growth supports the gains we saw last year, and sellers are responding with confidence in that consistency.  We will continue to watch inventory movement in the coming months as we move further into typical seasonal patterns, but anticipate a more balanced buying market.”

The national median existing home price is projected to rise about 5 to 6 percent in 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, which cites job growth and large pent-up demand as drivers of the market in light of rising mortgage rates.

National Key Market Indicators for January 2014

January 2014 Year-over-Year Percentage Change Month-over-Month Percentage Change
Number of Listings 1,672,799 3.1 percent -3.3 percent
Median Age of Inventory 115 days 0.0 percent  2.7 percent
Median List Price $195,000 8.3 percent 0.1 percent

National Perspective

  • Inventory increasing: At the national level, for-sale inventories are now 3.1 percent higher than they were one year ago, and the rise in inventory is spreading to more markets across the country.  In January 2013, just 8 markets registered increases in inventory. This January, 83 markets (58 percent) of the 143 markets tracked by realtor.com showed increases in inventory, year over year. While the next few months will be critical to watch, these trends suggest a more balanced housing market going into the 2014 home-buying season.
  • Price increases more widespread: Median list price rose a healthy 8.3 percent in January 2014 compared to the same time last year.  In January 2014, 44 markets saw year-over-year list price increases of 10 percent or more, compared to January 2013, when 24 markets registered double-digit increases in median list price.  The number of declining markets in terms of median list price dropped, from 58 in January 2013 to just 13 in January 2014.
  • Days on market stabilizing: Median age of inventory remained steady in January 2014 compared to the same time last year, at 115 days. However, the number of markets showing year-over-year declines in age of inventory has dropped significantly, from 133 markets in January 2013 to 78 markets in January 2014. 56 markets showed year-on-year increases in days on market in January 2014, compared to just nine markets in January 2013.

Local Market Highlights

  • California, Detroit, and Nevada markets continue to dominate the list of areas experiencing the largest year-over-year increases in median list prices – with increases of 20 percent or more.
  • Entering into the spring months, it is important to watch for markets with a possible resurgence, such as Denver, Boulder, Chicago and Corpus Christi TX, where depressed inventories have been accompanied with large year-over-year gains in median list prices. Sustained low inventories in these markets could lead to demand-driven housing price increases that characterized California and most of the sand states in 2013.
  • Strong markets particularly worth noting as those worst hit by climate-driven troubles include Boston with a 10.9 percent month-over-month inventory decline, Chicago with a 6.1 percent inventory drop, Denver with a striking 13.5 percent inventory decline, Detroit with a 6.8 percent reduction, New York with a 9.5 percent decline, and Philadelphia with an 8.2 percent decline.  These markets may experience notable inventory recovery after prohibitive weather conditions subside.

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 provides 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.