Housing Market Holds Its Own: Life after the Tax Credit


July 20, 2010

The tax credit brought a lot of buyers out last fall and again this spring, which gave a real shot in the arm to real estate. While that heightened volume cannot be sustained, home sales and prices still remain higher than last year due to interest rates at historically low levels and the lowest home prices seen in years. A monthly survey of 54 metropolitan areas reveals that closed transactions in June 2010 were 5.6% higher and prices 3.5% higher than during June 2009.

“There’s no question, the tax credit has had a significant impact on this market,” said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. “No one can predict the future, and we may still see a slight pull back, but for right now it appears that housing is holding its own, hopefully on the road to a sustainable recovery.”

Transactions – Year-Over-Year Change
Buyers trying to make the closing deadline for the tax credit may have pushed sales higher for June with a 7.2% rise from May in addition to the 5.6% gain over last year. Sales were especially strong in the Northeast—Boston and Hartford saw 23% more sales than last year, Providence was up 21% and Philadelphia was higher by 27%. An equal number of metro areas, 27, had increases and decreases in closed transactions year over year.

Median Sales Price – Year-Over-Year Change
Responding to demand, home prices appear to be stabilizing and slowly inching higher. In the survey’s 54 metro areas, the year-over-year change in median sales price was 3.5%, with 27 metros headed up, 25 lower and 2 unchanged. The weighted average of all median sales prices for June was $211, 530.

California experienced the most dramatic increase in prices—median prices in San Francisco rose almost 18% higher than June 2009 levels, Los Angeles prices were 10% higher and San Diego prices were 9% above the same time last year.

Days on Market – Average of 54 Metro Areas
Besides price, most home owners are concerned about how long it will take to sell their home. For the homes that sold in the survey’s 54 metro areas, the average number of days it took from listing to signed contract was 81, slightly lower than the 83 day average in May and the 89 day average in June 2009.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 Metro Areas
The inventory of homes on the market in June rose slightly from May, up only 1.2%, but down 5.8% from June 2009. In the survey’s 54 cities, the average months supply of Inventory was 8.5 months, which remains unchanged from May. This means that at the current rate of sales, the average metro would eliminate its inventory of homes for sale in eight and a half months. However, a six month supply is considered a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.