Redfin: U.S. home prices jumped in February as sales were constrained by a double-digit inventory dip


U.S. home prices rose 7.2 percent in February, which marked 60 consecutive months of annual increases since homeprices bottomed in early 2012, according to Redfin , the next-generation real estate brokerage.

Home sales gained a modest 1.8 percent, constrained by a continuing inventory shortage. The number of homes for sale fell 12.9 percent year over year in February, the third month in a row that inventory declined by double digits. Housing affordability pressures are increasing, especially for first-time buyers, amidst continuously increasing prices and the Federal Reserve’s recent announcement of an interest rate hike. However, rising prices may lead more homeowners to list their homes this spring.

“The total level of home equity reached a new peak at the close of 2016, according to recent Fed data,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “While great for homeowners, continuously strong price growth across the U.S. since 2012 has posed significant challenges for first-time buyers, especially given such low supply in affordable price-tiers. There is a silver lining on the horizon, however. Rising prices and increased equity may tip the scales for homeowners who have been delaying their decision to move up, which could add much-needed starter-home inventory to the market.”

Despite affordability concerns and low inventory, February still proved to be a strong month for buyer demand. Market speed increased again, making for the fastest February Redfin recorded since 2010. The typical home that sold last month went under contract in 60 days, eight days faster than one year prior. Nearly 15 percent of all homes listed for sale in February were off the market within two weeks, up from 11.7 percent last year.

Regional February Highlights

Competition

  • Seattle, WA was the fastest market, with nearly half of all homes pending sale in just 12 days, down from 13 days from a year earlier. Oakland, CA and Denver, CO were the next fastest markets with 15 and 18 median days on market, followed by San Jose, CA (21) and San Francisco, CA (28).
  • Competition was fierce in San Jose, CA where 63.1% of homes sold above list price, followed by 62.0% in San Francisco, CA, 59.1% in Oakland, CA, 49.3% in Seattle, WA, and 36.3% in Tacoma, WA.

Prices

  • Portsmouth, NH had the nation’s highest price growth, rising 21.4% since last year to $285,000. Deltona, FL had the second highest growth up 20.1%, followed by Tampa, FL (18.8%), Jacksonville, FL (18.7%), and Ogden, UT (17.2%).
  • Prices dropped in four metros, including Baton Rouge, LA (-4.2%), Wilmington, DE (-2.5%), Honolulu, HI (-1%), and Pittsburgh, PA (-0.8%).

Sales

  • 17 out of 90 metros saw sales surge by double digits from last year. Charleston, SC led the nation in year-over-year sales growth, up 39.2%, followed by St. Louis, MO, up 30%. Fort Myers, FL rounded out the top three with sales up 25.2% from a year ago.
  • Albany, NY saw the largest dip in sales since last year, falling 22.5%. Home sales in Portsmouth, NH declined by 22.4% as well.

Inventory

  • Rochester, NY had the largest decrease in overall inventory, falling 42.4% since last February. Buffalo, NY (-37.8%), Seattle, WA (-35.3%), and Omaha, NE (-34.7%) also saw far fewer homes available on the market than a year ago.
  • Provo, UT had the highest increase in the number of homes for sale, up 30.7% year over year, followed by Knoxville, TN (21.6%) and New Orleans, LA (16.1%).

To read the full report, complete with data and charts, please visit the following link: https://www.redfin.com/blog/2017/03/home-prices-jumped-in-february-as-sales-were-constrained-by-a-double-digit-inventory-dip.html

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