February 25th, 2013 5:22 PM by Eileen Denhard
As inventory continues to decline and home prices begin to stabilize, today’s housing market offers opportunities for both homebuyers and sellers, according to data released by Realtor.com. Inventory of for-sale properties fell to its lowest level since January 2007, decreasing 16.47 percent in January from a year ago and falling 5.63 percent from the previous month. Homes averaged 108 days on the market before being sold, a 9.24 percent decline from a year ago. The median list price was $187,000 in January, an increase of 0.8 percent from the previous year.
“If inventories remain low and list prices begin to rise over the next few months, as they did last year, conditions will be ripe for additional markets to appreciate in 2013,” says Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc., which operates Realtor.com.
At the local level, states that were once at the center of the housing crisis, including Arizona and California, will continue to improve, while markets in older, industrialized parts of the Midwest and the East Coast will continue to struggle this year. According to Realtor.com, the best markets for sellers are in California, including Sacramento, San Jose and San Francisco, as well as Phoenix and Washington, D.C. The top buyers’ markets are Asheville, N.C., Peoria, Ill., Charleston, W.V., Philadelphia and Cleveland.
According to Realtor.com, several factors will affect the housing market recovery, including the strength of the economy, the cost and availability of mortgage credit, consumer expectations regarding future housing prices and continued efforts to reduce the foreclosure inventory.