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RE/MAX: Hopeful Trends Continue, Inventory Still a Problem

The housing market continued to build on 2012's positive trends last month, according to the February ""RE/MAX"":http://www.remax.com/ National Housing Report.

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With data representing 52 metro areas, the report shows home sales rose 0.9 percent month-over-month and 2.3 percent year-over-year. According to RE/MAX, February is the 20th month in a row to see sales rise higher than they were a year before. Of the areas surveyed in February's report, 29 reported higher sales on an annual basis, and 10 reported double-digit gains, including: Boise, Idaho (21.6 percent); Burlington, Vermont (15.4 percent); and Las Vegas, Nevada (14.1 percent).

RE/MAX also noted that ""move-up"" buyers now appear to be outnumbering investors and first-time buyers, ""marking a return to a more traditional market makeup.""

The median home price also increased, rising to $160,500--3.5 percent above January and 7.0 percent above February 2012. February was the 13th straight month in which the median price has been higher than [COLUMN_BREAK]

the same month a year before. Only four metros recorded an annual drop in prices: Los Angeles, California (-8.7 percent); Hartford, Connecticut (-7.2 percent); Trenton, New Jersey (-3.0 percent); and Anchorage, Alaska (-2.1 percent).

Of the 48 metros reporting year-over-year price gains, 21 saw double-digit increases, including Atlanta, Georgia, which saw a 50.0 percent increase in median price.

""It's clear that the housing recovery is real and is moving full-speed ahead into 2013,"" said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. ""Consumers recognize that we've hit the bottom, and real estate is offering some great opportunities with low prices and low interest rates. This is an attractive combination that most of us will never see again in our lifetimes.""

Meanwhile, inventory remains a major concern. Home inventory fell 29.2 percent year-over-year in February, resulting in a 4.8-month supply of homes. As home prices continue to recover, RE/MAX expects to see more homeowners achieve positive equity, creating a more stable and sustainable environment.

Extremely low supply levels continue to be seen in cities like: San Francisco, California (1.1-month supply); Denver, Colorado (1.6-month supply); and Washington, D.C. (2.0-month supply).

The drop in supply led to a decline in average days on market. According to RE/MAX, the average number of days on market for a home sold in February was 89--a slight increase of two days from January's average, but a substantial drop from the 103 average a year ago. February's average of 89 marks the ninth time in the past year that the days on market average has been below 90.

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