Last year’s home buying season continued through the balance of 2011 and though January, according to RE/MAX, which reported yesterday that sales have risen seven straight months.
January sales were up 3.4 percent over a year ago but year-over-year. Of the 53 metros covered in the RE/MAX National Housing Report, 20 saw double digit jumps in sales over last year and a total of 36 markets saw sales increase in January.
However, January also was the 17th straight month to register year over year price declines. Prices were down only 0.8 percent from last year but they fell 3.4 percent from December. Fifteen metros showed annual price increases, including Florida markets: Miami, up 23.8 percent, Orlando, up 15.8 percent and Tampa, up 15.6 percent.
Inventories were down 24.1 percent from a year ago and down 4.2 percent from December. Mo th-th0-month inventories have fallen every month for 19 consecutive months and the resulting months supply is 7.3 months, compared to 7.8 months in December and 10.1 months in January 2011. A six months supply is considered a balanced market.
Average days on market in January was 103 days, which is five days higher than the 98-day average in December and 4 days higher than in January 2011. Only two months in 2011 saw a DOM average below 90 days.
“This positive start to the year will hopefully set the tone for a continuing housing recovery that’s drawing home buyers with low interest rates and low prices,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. “If sales continue ahead of last year’s pace and inventory does not increase significantly, we could start to see increasing home prices this year.”