The housing market's progression toward recovery continued in September, as both home sales and prices improved, while inventory declined, according to a report from Re/Max.
The median home price rose nearly 8 percent in September to nearly $165,000, marking the eighth consecutive year-over-year increase in home sales occurred. This figure was also 0.7 percent higher than August's figure, the real estate analysis group explained in its latest National Housing Report. In September, 44 of the 52 metropolitan statistical areas researched experienced improved prices compared to the same month last year.
"Now that the summer buying season is behind us, we can clearly see that the market made a significant rebound, and 2012 is definitely the year of the housing recovery," said Margaret Kelly, CEO of Re/Max. "Although we still face some serious obstacles in tight lending and shrinking inventory, we believe that the housing market will continue to recover into 2013."
Home sales climb year-over-year
Using real estate records, Re/Max found that home sales rose 0.5 percent from the level in September 2011. However, the latest figure was more than 17 percent lower than August. Despite the decline, the report stressed that changes of this nature are seasonal.
Nearly 30 MSAs experienced sales increases in September, the report explained. Albuquerque, New Mexico, experienced the most significant rise in home sales, with an improvement of nearly 41 percent. Chicago, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Providence, Rhode Island, all experienced year-over-year jumps of more than 20 percent.
The average number of days a property spent on the market before being sold was 81 in September, according to the report. This was the same as August's figure, but declined 13 days year-over-year.
The report added that inventory declined more than 5 percent during September from the previous month, while year-over-year, the level fell by approximately 29 percent. Inventory levels have steadily declined over the past few years, as every month in the past 30 has declined compared to the previous month.
Despite the continued declines in inventory, residential home construction continues to rise. According to property data from the Department of Commerce, residential construction rose 0.9 percent in August to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $273.5 billion. July's rate was $271.1 billion.