If you’re considering buying or selling a home, you should be aware of the latest housing market statistics as they could affect when and how you make your decision. The good news is, things are increasingly looking up for real estate, freeing up buyers and sellers to finally move forward with confidence.

According to research from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), sales of existing homes edged up in January; at the same time, NAR reports a seller’s market developing thanks to home prices continuing to rise steadily above year-ago levels. In fact, sales rose in every region of the country but the West, which is the region most constrained by limited inventory.

Total existing-home sales - which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops - increased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in January from a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December, and are 9.1 percent above the 4.51 million-unit pace in January 2012.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said tight inventory is a major factor in the market.

“Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady,” says Yun. “In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We’ve transitioned into a seller’s market in much of the country.”

Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 4.9 percent to 1.74 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.5 months in December, and is the lowest housing supply since April 2005 when it was also 4.2 months.

Meanwhile, the national median existing-home price for all housing types was $173,600 in January, up 12.3 percent from January 2012, which is the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases; that last occurred from July 2005 to May 2006. The January gain is the strongest since November 2005 when it was 12.9 percent above a year earlier.

NAR President Gary Thomas says homes are selling faster. “The typical home is selling nearly four weeks faster than it did a year ago,” he reports.

The median time on market for all homes was 71 days in January, down from 73 days in December and is 28.3 percent below 99 days in January 2012.

While these national statistics certainly tell an important story, real estate truly is local, as the saying goes, so be sure to find out the specific market data related to the neighborhoods in which you are buying or selling a home. An experienced real estate professional will be able to localize important data.

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

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Rose Price
Prudential Landmark
Mobile: 217-202-8843

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