This story was originally published in Builder.
The record speed of January home sales may signal that buyers aren't waiting around for the typical spring selling season to begin. Despite home sales being down 2.8 percent year-over-year, the February RE/MAX National Housing Report shows homes sold in a mere 60 days last month, marking the fewest Days on Market of any January in the nine-year history of the report.
Days on Market typically decline each month leading into the heart of the spring and summer buying season in July and start increasing monthly as fall progresses into winter.
"We recently saw the groundhog predict six more weeks of winter, but January housing numbers are telling a different story," said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. "It looks like the spring selling season may have arrived early because home buyers are not slowing down. The speed of this market is on pace with what we saw in the prime of the 2017 selling season."
The Median Sales Price of $224,000 also set a January record—up 6.7 percent year-over-year. Out of 53 markets, 51 posted gains, marking January as the 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year price increases dating back to April 2016.
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in January 2018, the overall average number of home sales decreased 27.4 percent compared to December 2017 and decreased 2.8 percent compared to January 2017. Twenty of the 53 metro areas experienced an increase in sales year-over-year including, Milwaukee, Wis., at 13.6 percent; Albuquerque, N.M., at 12.8 percent; Kansas City, Mo., at 12.5 percent; and Boise, Idaho, at 12 percent.
Median Sales Price (Median of 53 Metro Median Prices)
In January 2018, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $224,000, down 4.7 percent from December 2017 but up 6.7 percent from January 2017. Billings, Mont., was the only metro area to see a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price of 6.4 percent. Eleven metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Boise, Idaho, at 18.7 percent; Las Vegas, Nevada, at 16.2 percent; San Francisco at 14 percent; and Orlando, Fla., at 13.8 percent.
Days on Market (Average of 53 Metro Areas)
The average Days on Market for homes sold in January 2018 was 60, up three days from the average in December 2017, and down six days from the January 2017 average. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were San Francisco at 31; Omaha, Neb., at 34; and Nashville, Tenn., at 36. The highest Days on Market averages were in Augusta, Maine, at 109; Chicago at 96; and Hartford, Conn., at 93. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.
Months Supply of Inventory (Average of 53 Metro Areas)
The number of homes for sale in January 2018 was down 4.8 percent from December 2017, and down 14.8 percent from January 2017. Based on the rate of home sales in December, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 3.4 from December 2017's 3.7, and was also down from January 2017's 3.8. A 6.0-months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In January 2018, 49 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply at or less than 6.0—a seller's market. The metro areas that saw a months supply above 6.0, which is typically considered a buyer's market, were Birmingham, Ala., at 8.2; Augusta, Maine, at 7.5; Miami at 7.1; and New Orleans at 6.8. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory continued to be in the west with Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle at 1.1.
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