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Trends Show Shift in Market Dynamics as Summer Ends

As the summer buying season draws to a close, key housing market indicators show trends stabilizing in a way that hasn't been seen for some time.

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""Realtor.com"":http://www.realtor.com/ released Thursday its National Housing Trend Report for August, which shows prices leveling out as the inventory recovery becomes more widespread.

""Where we have seen significant volatility in many markets, including double-digit declines in inventory as well as increases in median price for both yearly and monthly views, we are now looking at a housing market that is less heated and moving closer to normalcy,"" said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Realtor.com operator Move, Inc.

Of the 146 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) covered by Realtor.com, 123 registered a year-over-year increase in median list price last month, with 78 reporting an increase of 5 percent or more. Of the markets reporting a decline, only 11 experienced a drop of 1 percent or more, and three had a decline of 5 percent or more.

The national median list price in August was $199,900, up 6.39 percent year-over-year but flat from July. ""Absent a significant weakening in economic conditions or significantly higher rates,"" Realtor.com expects prices to rise slowly moving forward.

Meanwhile, the inventory recovery is also growing broader. According to the site's report, there were 1,977,202 listings, down 2.5 percent from August 2012 but up 0.93 percent from July.

Ninety-nine markets registered a net increase in inventory over July, and nearly one-third are now within 5 percent of last year's inventory levels. Of all the markets posting declines, the most significant drops were in Melbourne, Florida (-30 percent); Sacramento, California (-26 percent); and Stockton, California (-31 percent).

The median age of inventory in August was 92 days, down 8.0 percent year-over-year but up 8.24 percent from July. Median age of inventory increased across the board in 130 of 146 MSAs. The biggest gainers were Oakland, California (25 percent); Denver, Colorado (26 percent); and Seattle, Washington (25 percent).

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