Western cities experience strengthening housing market conditions

The residential housing market has picked up throughout much of the country in the past several months, but the third quarter specifically experienced an improved situation throughout the West.

The residential housing market has picked up throughout much of the country in the past several months, but the third quarter specifically experienced an improved situation throughout the West.

Median list prices for residential properties rose approximately 2.5 percent nationwide last quarter, according to property data from Realtor.com. The inventory age dropped by a median of nearly 14 percent as well, compared to the previous three months. This was also more than 8.5 percent lower than the same three months last year.

Housing conditions for the West strengthened last quarter, and the region was also a significant contributor to the aforementioned numbers. California had seven of the 10 cities on the website's Top 10 Turnaround Towns, with each of the top four cities hailing from the Golden State.

Bay Area witnesses stark residential gains
The San Francisco Bay Area led the way in the state, as MSAs from that part of California held the first, second and fourth spots on the list, according to the website. Oakland was the top finisher for the third quarter, which was one spot improved from the previous quarter's report. Overall, the city's inventory declined nearly 60 percent compared to the same quarter in 2011, while the level of foreclosures dropped to a level below California's average.

San Jose finished in the third spot on the list, as real estate records showed inventory dropped more than 40 percent, the report noted. Additionally, the city had a 15 percent jump in median list price. San Francisco ended up in fourth spot, as it had an inventory decline comparable to San Jose.

Sacramento, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, and Fresno rounded out the California cities in the report. The three non-California cities and metropolitan statistical areas on the list were Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Phoenix-Mesa and Miami. The latter experienced a drop from the number one spot one year earlier, but this was because the city's housing market mostly leveled out.

The continuing strengthening of many improving markets may be due to the home price increases experienced throughout much of the country. A report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency noted that during August, its House Price Index rose 0.7 percent from July. The previous month had a rise of 0.1 percent.



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