RE/MAX: Home Prices Dip Amid Record-Low Inventories

RE/MAX, Denver, said January home sales followed a more predictive pattern as of late, dropping more than 30% from December.

The company’s monthly National Housing Report said the anticipated seasonal decline in home sales came amid another month of stability in home prices, as January’s average sales price equaled December’s. Although the January average sales price was 15.9% higher than a year ago, the slowing of drastic price appreciation is “welcomed news for buyers,” said RE/MAX CEO President and CEO Nick Bailey.

“Sellers continue to enjoy favorable conditions, but with January activity slowing a bit ahead of the peak spring selling season, the consistent run-up in prices has tapered off as well,” Bailey said. “Mortgage rates are beginning to tick up, which might actually accelerate sales as buyers and sellers rush to beat any further increases. The price stabilization of the past few months is helping counter affordability issues, and we anticipate an active spring selling season driven by continued buyer demand.”

The report said markets with the biggest decrease in year-over-year sales percentage were San Francisco at -24.2%, Manchester, N.H., at -18.0%, and Seattle at -17.5%. Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Honolulu at +25.7%, Boise, Idaho, at +10.4%, and Tulsa, Okla., at +5.8%.

The report noted while January was the second month in a row of minimal month-over-month price increase, January’s median sales price equaled December’s $335,000, which was only $5,000 below the report’s record high of $340,000 set in October. No metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease; 35 metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, led by Phoenix at +28.5%, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., at +28.4%, and Salt Lake City at +26.7%.

RE/MAX reported 1.9 months’ supply of inventory a year ago; January’s months’ supply was 1.2. The number of homes for sale in January fell by 11.9% from December and by 32.1% from a year ago. Markets with the lowest months’ supply of inventories were Denver at 0.4, and a three-way tie among Charlotte, N.C., Seattle and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., at 0.5.