Housing Ends Summer Strong; Only Slight Inventory Relief

 
September 15, 2017
 
DENVER – U.S. home sales in August extended a summer of strong demand and weak inventory that once again resulted in listings with short shelf lives. In addition to the normal late summer real estate trends, a primary focus during the next month will be on housing in specific markets affected by natural disasters like devastating wildfires and hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
 
The RE/MAX National Housing Report shows August sales topping July by 2.8%, but finishing 0.84% below August 2016 which remains the best August in the report’s 9-year history. Houston, where Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25, already experienced a 21.3% drop in sales from July and a 27.5% decline year-over-year.
 
Inventory in the report’s 54 markets declined 3.9% from July and 13.7% from a year ago, driving Days on Market to drop to 47 – the fastest listing-to-sale average for any August. The Months Supply of Inventory, while continuing to rebound from a May low of 2.6, settled at 3.1 months and set another report record for August.
 
“Overall, we’re still seeing home prices rise year-over-year at just above historical averages -- even with slightly declining nationwide prices in August, which is an expected annual pattern,” said Adam Contos, RE/MAX Co-CEO. “The data shows that home hunters continue to experience very limited inventory and increased competition, and home sellers are benefiting from quick sales for top dollar.”
 
After hitting $239,950 in July, the median sales price dipped to $236,475 in August but still finished 5.4% higher year-over-year.
 
Closed Transactions 
Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in August 2017, the overall average number of home sales increased 2.8% compared to July 2017 and decreased 0.84% compared to August 2016. Twenty-four of the 54 metro areas experienced an increase in sales year-over-year including, Wilmington/Dover, DE,+17.2%, Trenton, NJ, +13.8%, Honolulu, HI, +12%, Augusta, ME, +11.1% and Boise, ID, +9%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 54 metro median prices
In August 2017, the median of all 54 metro Median Sales Prices was $236,475, down 1.3% from July 2017 but up 5.4% from August 2016. Only three metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price or remained unchanged (Anchorage, AK, -1.5%, Augusta, ME, -1.4% and Hartford, CT, -1.4%). Nine metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Cincinnati, OH, +14.5%, Las Vegas, NV, +13.7%, Boise, ID, +12.4%, Nashville, TN, +12.1% , San Francisco, CA, +11.5%, and Seattle, WA, +11.4%.

Days on Market – Average of 54 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in August 2017 was 47, up two days from the average in July 2017, and down seven days from the August 2016 average. The four metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE, and Seattle, WA, at 21, and Denver, CO, and San Francisco, CA, at 24. The highest Days on Market averages were in Augusta, ME, at 100 and Burlington, VT, at 92. 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 54 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in August 2017 was down 3.9% from July 2017, and down 13.7% from August 2016. Based on the rate of home sales in August, the Months Supply of Inventory remained unchanged from July 2017 at 3.1, compared to August 2016 at 3.4. A 6.0-months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In August 2017, 53 of the 54 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply of less than 6.0, which is typically considered a seller’s market. At 6.5, Miami, FL, was the only metro area that saw a months supply above 6.0, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory continued to be in the west with San Francisco, CA, at 1.0, Seattle, WA, at 1.3, Denver, CO, at 1.4 and San Diego, CA, at 1.7.