Sales Slip, Listings Plummet, but Home Prices Keep Rising as 2012 Concludes; Inventory Growth Key to 2013 Performance

The Redfin Real-Time Price Tracker is a monthly report on home prices, sales and inventory across 19 U.S. markets, published weeks before any other index, based on the local databases used directly by real estate agents to list properties and record sales.

Home prices, sales, and listings all fell between November and December as the housing market weathered the usually-slow holiday season with a smaller dip in prices than the same time a year ago. Listings continued to drop, falling to a level 33 percent below December 2011 and 44 percent below December 2010. Thanks to the lack of homes on the market to buy, sales fell to their lowest level in 10 months, but still closed out the year slightly ahead of 2011.

Despite consistent home price gains since February, homeowners are still reluctant to list their homes for sale. Meanwhile, builders are moving to fill the gap, as data released last week show that private residential construction spending increased again in November.

The key metrics across 19 major metropolitan markets are:

  • Home sales ended the year in the black, up 3.4% from a year ago, and down 4.1% from November. For 2012 as a whole, sales were up 9% from the total number of sales in 2011.
  • Home prices in December increased 11.3% year over year, but fell slightly month-over-month, losing 0.4% from November (a slight dip in prices is typical for this time of year).
  • The number of homes for sale declined 33.0% from December 2011 to December 2012 (worse still than the 30.1% drop in November), and declined by 11.5% since November.
  • The percentage of listings that were under contract within 14 days of their debut was flat for the third month in a row at 27.5% in December. For 2012 as a whole, 26% of listings were under contract within 14 days, up nine points from the 17% figure for 2011.

For the full report including data tables, charts, and a downloadable spreadsheet with historic data, visit the Real-Time Price Tracker in Redfin’s Research Center.

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