Despite severe winter weather conditions across the nation, the 2014 home buying season got off to a good start with a year-over-year increase in inventory and sustained growth in home prices.
The median list price for January rose 8.3 percent compared to the same time last year, according to the realtor.com® data. The number of properties for sale was up 3.1 percent. And the median age of inventory was essentially unchanged, indicating a transition to a “less frenzied market” than in January 2013.
The solid start “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.”
Looking ahead, the national median existing home price is projected to rise about 5 percent 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.
The California, Detroit and Nevada markets continue to top the list of areas with the largest year-over-year increases in median list prices, boasting increases of 20 percent or more.
But the polar vortex took a toll in some parts of the nation. Strong markets hit hard by winter weather — such as Boston, Chicago and Detroit — saw up to 10 percent month-over-month declines in inventory. Once winter weather subsides, however, these markets may experience a strong recovery, realtor.com® analysts said.
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