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In January the number of searches for homes by buyers on the Internet's largest homes-for-sale site, a potential an indicator of future demand, rose 10 percent over a year ago, a time when large numbers of buyers were getting ready to take advantage of the homebuyer tax credits.

Online House Hunting Rises 10 Percent over 2010

In January the number of searches for homes by buyers on the Internet’s largest homes-for-sale site, a potential an indicator of future demand, rose 10 percent over a year ago, a time when large numbers of buyers were getting ready to take advantage of the homebuyer tax credits.

January data from Realtor.com shows that last month year-over-year search activity rose 9.9 percent nationally over January 2010 and from 0.2 percent to 62.5 percent in 114 of the 146 markets the site serves. The top 10 most searched real estate markets in January were: Chicago, IL (1); Detroit, IL (2); Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (3); Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (4); Las Vegas, NV (5); Dallas, TX (6); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (7); Atlanta, GA (8); Orlando, FL (9); and Philadelphia, PA-NJ (10).

The data also showed that in January the national average days on market for the mega-site’s 2.8 million single family, condo and co-op sales listings reached 301 days, a 46 percent increase over a year ago. Days on market rose in every market monitored last month by Realtor.com, which is operated by Move, Inc.

In Shreveport, Savannah, and Rochester, year-over-year days on market rates more than doubled compared to January 2010. Faster moving markets with the shortest time on market for active listings were; Riverside-San Bernardino, CA (161); Tulsa, OK (93); Oakland, CA (131); Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (136); and Anchorage, AK (144).

Inventories rose in January compared to levels a year ago, including record numbers of distress sales resulting from foreclosures coming on to the market in 2010. Total listings on the site are up 17 percent year-over-year. Active inventories of for sale homes in 68 markets exceeded levels of a year ago, while 78 markets saw a year-over-year reduction in inventories. Largest declines in active listing inventories were registered in Savannah, GA (-31.11 percent); Shreveport-Bossier City, LA (-18.56 percent); Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, MI (-4.41 percent); Iowa City, IA (-4.12 percent); Orlando, FL (-1.34 percent); and Boise City, ID (-0.71 percent).

Median listing prices, at $199,000 nationally, are down only .5 percent from a year ago. While many markets registered year-over-year declines in median list prices, 21 markets-primarily smaller cities-showed stable or increasing list prices between 0.02 percent and 18.38 percent. The top six median list price market performers were Fort Lauderdale, FL; (18.38 percent); Fort Collins-Loveland, CO (5.57 percent); Columbia, MO (5.07 percent); Fort Wayne, IN (4.77 percent); Savannah, GA (4.18 percent); and Tyler, TX (3.94 percent).

Realtor.com, which is operated by Move, Inc., has never before released key metrics on search, inventory, prices and volume. It obtains and aggregates listing information from more than 933 multiple listing services.

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