March 21st, 2014 1:22 AM by Lori Speight
Inventories of homes for sale have increased 10 percent year-over-year, signaling growing seller optimism and a strong, early start to the spring home-buying season, according to realtor.com®’s latest National Housing Trend Report, which tracks 146 markets.
The median list price edged up 76 percent higher in February compared to year-ago levels. The nationwide median list price is $199,000, realtor.com® reports. The median age of inventory also rose 6.5 percent year-over-year to 114 days.
“Overall, these figures indicate a continued reinforcement of steady gains and market stabilization that we’ve been watching since late last summer,” says Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move Inc. “Seller confidence is the factor to watch as we head into the spring home-buying season, and these are very encouraging indicators—not only are more homes coming onto the market, but typically we don’t see a rise in asking prices this early into the year. This is the market these sellers have been waiting for.”
Still, realtor.com® notes that inventories are still low by historical standards.
About 99 of the 146 markets that realtor.com® tracks saw year-over-year gains in inventory levels. Sixty-three of those markets saw levels rise by 10 percent or more.
California markets saw some of the biggest rises to inventories. For example, Stockton, Calif., has twice as many homes listed for sale on realtor.com® than it did a year ago, according to the report. Also, Fresno, Bakersfield, Riverside, and Oakland also reported 40 percent or more year-over-year increases in the number of homes for sale.
Meanwhile, inventories remain tight in Denver and Chicago, particularly. “The inventory deficits in these markets will likely continue to put significant upward pressure on housing prices going into the 2014 home-buying season,” the report notes. Denver’s median list prices are up 19.6 percent year-over-year, and Chicago has seen median list prices rise 14.3 percent in the past year, according to realtor.com®.