Listed inventory on Realtor.com fell by 22 percent in February compared with a year ago, but according to the site, that drop was accompanied by a 6.8 percent increase in asking price, which signified a greater interest from prospective homebuyers.
According to a Bloomberg report, there were 1.78 million homes for sale on Realtor.com in February, the median asking price was $188,000 and, perhaps most promising of all, the median listing time was down by 9.8 percent to 111 days, meaning homes were selling in less time.
Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com, said in an interview with Bloomberg that all of the data in the site’s reports indicated a better housing market.
“All this suggests that the market is healthier,” Samuelson said. “You’re seeing the contraction in inventory and you’re now going into a spring market where there’s more demand.”
Realtor.com also reported that 14 million unique visitors perused the site in January, a 30 percent year-over-year increase, and the number of visitors who asked for more information about a property increased by 60 percent. Samuelson said the reason for the dramatic increases is probably seasonal; during the second quarter of the year, homebuyers often intensify their searching patterns in order to secure a summertime relocation while their children are off from school.
As Bloomberg pointed out, Realtor.com’s dropping inventories mirror inventory reports from the National Association of Realtors, which recently stated that January’s inventory of homes on the market decreased to 6.1 months of supply, the lowest level since April 2006 (by comparison, inventory shot up to 12.1 months supply in July 2010 after the expiration of the first-time homebuyer tax credit).
Along with the robo-signing scandal, which froze the foreclosure pipeline and held a wide number of properties off the market, existing-home sales were also a contributing factor to the decreasing inventories, as sales for the properties rose in January at their fastest rate in 20 months.