US house sales data for the 30 days ended October 3, 2013 showed both prices and sales volume undergoing their usual seasonal cooling in data reported by Dataquick.
253,359 sales were recorded during the period versus 256,733 the week before. Volume gained 16% from the year ago period. At the recent peak on September 12, the one year increase was 19.1%.
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Median sale prices for the preceding 30 days dipped from $229,500 in the prior week to $227,000 in the current week. That was a gain of 13.5% versus the year ago period. The recent peak week of September 12 saw an annual gain of 15%.
Source: DQNews. Using the most current 30/31 days for each county. Covers 98 of the Top 100 US MSAs (excludes Louisville and Wichita) – 66.25% of US home sales. These numbers are not modeled. They are real sales counts and medians.
The Dataquick data is from closed sales, representing contracts that were generally signed two months earlier on average. Data from Corelogic based on current contract prices obtained from all US Multiple Listing Services suggested that prices gained another 0.9% in August. Electronic real estate broker Redfin reported a small decline in contract prices in August. I suspect the difference between the two services is a matter of the timing of the data collection. Seasonally, some decline is normal during the second half of the year, with prices bottoming in mid winter.
For current real time price information we must rely on listings prices. Aggregate listing prices from DepartmentofNumbers.com have proven to be accurate representations of the trend of the market. Subsequently released sales data has shown that sales prices are consistently between 95% and 97% of listing prices. The median real time listing price of 54 large US metropolitan areas rose by 0.7% in the month ended September 30, with a year to year gain of 11.1%. Seasonally, prices normally peak in June and begin a decline in July that lasts until January. As of September 30, that decline had yet to begin.
As of September 30, listing inventory was up approximately 1% from the prior month and is down 3% year to year. Normally inventories peak in the summer between June and August. While inventory rose in the first 9 months of the year, it has yet to break the 6 year downtrend.
Data collected by Redfin shows that while demand has cooled from panic levels earlier this year, demand continues to trend up from the year ago period. Inventory, especially of well located, desirable properties in good condition remains extremely tight. This should contribute to keeping prices in an uptrend. The trend may ebb from time to time, but there’s no sign of an end to this housing price bubble.
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