For the first time in 18 months, home prices in February rose higher. With a median price of $171,881, prices in the 53 cities surveyed by the National Housing Report rose by 1.1% over February 2011.
Home sales were even higher, up 8.7% from one year ago. With a positive sales trend of 8 straight months above the previous year, it's looking like 2012 will witness a very strong home-selling season. As a result of reduced foreclosure activity, inventory continued a downward trend for the 20thstraight month, 22.4% lower than the housing inventory in February 2011.
Consumer sentiment appears to be rising, and record low mortgage rates coupled with favorable home prices are attracting homebuyers and investors who don't want to miss a historic opportunity.
All the data is pointing to a very active spring and summer selling season this year, which is great news for a recovering housing market. As sales numbers have trended higher for several months, we have been anticipating a turnaround in home prices, and it looks like it's finally starting.
Home Sales in February were 8.7% higher than sales in February 2011. This was the 8th straight month year-to-year sales have risen. February home sales were also 8.1% higher than sales in January.
The Median Sales Price of homes sold in February was $171,881. This price represents a 1.4% increase from January, and a 1.1% rise from the median price seen in February 2011. February is the first time in 18 months that the year-to-year home price has increased.
The average Days on Market for properties sold in February was 103, the same as for the month of January, and the same average seen in February 2011. Only two months in the last 12 months saw a Days on Market average below 90: July and September both reported 88. Days on Market is the number of days between first being listed in an MLS and when a sales contract is signed.
Months Supply of Inventory-Average of 53 Metro Areas
In the month of February, the average inventory of homes-for-sale in the 53 surveyed metro areas dropped 0.8% from January and also dropped 22.4% from February 2011. Month-to month inventories have now fallen for 20 consecutive months. Given the current rate of sales, and the size of the active inventory, the resulting Months Supply is 6.6 months, a drop from the 7.3 month supply seen in January, and significantly lower than the 9.3 month supply reported in February 2011. Months Supply is the number of months it would take to clear a market's active inventory at the current rate of sales. A six-month supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
All of this is of course great news! However, if the banks holding the foreclosed homes release them all at once, this upswing will certainly be affected for the worse.