September home sales fell 17.5% from August, but remained 0.5% higher than sales in September 2011, according to the latest national housing report released by RE/MAX.
RE/MAX notes that September is the 15th consecutive month with sales higher than the same month in the previous year. RE/MAX attributes September's sales numbers to a continuing reduction of inventory – of the 52 metro areas surveyed this month, only 29 saw higher sales than one year ago and only six 6 saw double-digit increases.
RE/MAX reports that of all the homes sold in September in the 52 metro areas included in its survey, the median sales price was $164,989, up 0.7% from August's median but 7.8% higher than September 2011. This marks the eighth month in a row with higher prices than a year ago.
In September, the average days-on-the-market for sold homes was 81. This is unchanged from August, but represents a drop of 13 days from the 94-day average in September 2011. September represents the fourth month in the last 12 months with a days-on-the-market average below 90, and the lowest average since June 2010.
Furthermore, the inventory of homes-for-sale in September fell 5.3% from August and 29.1% from inventory levels seen in September 2011. Month-to-month inventories have now fallen for 27 consecutive months.
While a shrinking inventory is certainly causing home prices to rise, there's also a concern that it may also be limiting sales. Given the rate of sales in September, the average month's supply was 5.5, about two months lower than the 7.7 average seen in September 2011.
‘Now that the summer buying season is behind us, we can clearly see that the market made a significant rebound, and 2012 is definitely the year of the housing recovery,’ says Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX LLC. ‘Although we still face some serious obstacles in tight lending and shrinking inventory, we believe that the housing market will continue to recover into 2013.’