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As Housing Gains Slow, Some Markets Shine Brighter

market-studiesHousing metrics pulled back nationally to end the second quarter, but what's true at the national level isn't always true at the local level.

In its June National Housing Trend Report, Realtor.com reported the national housing market continued to gain some strength as summer got under way, though the rate of recovery dimmed somewhat.

According to the report, median list prices at the national level grew to $215,000, marking a 7.55 percent improvement over this time last year but only a 0.05 percent gain from May.

Meanwhile, inventory levels declined to an estimated 1.9 million listings, a decline of nearly 1 percent from June and 8.65 percent from May.

"National housing inventory is now roughly in line with June 2013 levels when rising home prices first generated a surge in market supply," Realtor.com reported.

Additionally, homes in June sold 5 percent faster than they did last year—a median 76 days—indicating demand remains strong as supply falters.

While current and seasonal trends would suggest home sales will see a slowdown in the coming months, national indicators are masking some of the activity happening in individual markets, says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com.

"Our June data shows monthly inventory picking up in markets already experiencing price increases and fast property turnover," Smoke said. "These dynamics will result in strong home sales and extend the buying season past the usual June/July peak to later in the third quarter."

According to the report, the brightest spots for third-quarter growth are positioned all over the country, including Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Columbia, South Carolina; Spokane, Washington; and Philadelphia, among others.

Though they're geographically dispersed, the company says all of those markets have a few important traits in common: steady month-over-month inventory growth, decent price appreciation, and faster home sales as local demand outpaces supply.

It's those attributes, Smoke says, that will help propel sales moving forward.

"The markets where we expect significant third quarter home sales are all very different—ranging from small to large, affordable to expensive, previously distressed to minimally affected by the downturn," Smoke said. "Diversification in the areas experiencing healthy real estate economies is a key indicator that the housing recovery has become more sustainable."

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.
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