Though the national housing market has seen prices improve dramatically in the last year or more, consumers still seem more interested in buying properties, and both trends continued into the month of February.
The volume of sales made in the month of February improved on both a monthly and annual basis, as did the value of those transactions in general, according to the latest National Housing Report issued monthly by real estate giant Re/Max. The number of transactions rose 2.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, and was up 0.9 percent from January, while median prices surged 7 percent to $160,500. That was up from just $149,945 in February 2012, as well as a 3.5 percent improvement from January’s numbers.
[Credit Score Tool: Get your free credit score and report card from Credit.com]
“It’s clear that the housing recovery is real and is moving full-speed ahead into 2013,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of Re/Max. “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.”
The rise in transaction numbers was driven largely by 29 of the nation’s 52 largest housing markets, where double-digit increases were observed on an annual basis, the report said. This was led by Boise, where sales climbed 21.6 percent, and followed by Burlington, Vermont, Las Vegas and Phoenix, with increases of 15.4, 14.1 and 14 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, only four major metropolitan areas across the country saw prices shrink in February, with Los Angeles seeing the biggest depreciation in annual values at 8.7 percent, the report said. Hartford wasn’t far behind at 7.2 percent, while Trenton (3 percent) and Anchorage (2.1 percent) saw declines that were more modest. On the other hand, year-over-year increases in the double digits were seen in 21 markets, and 48 saw increases overall. Atlanta led the way for all these improving areas with an increase of 50 percent.
Further, with the volume of transactions rising annually, the average number of days homes spent on the market took a significant tumble, falling to 89 days from the 103 seen in February 2012, the report said. However, that was also up from 87 days in January.
[Featured Products: Research and Compare Mortgage Rates at Credit.com]
It’s believed the housing market will continue improving over the next year at least, though those steps forward will likely be far more modest than the ones observed in the last 12 or 15 months.