Housing Market Bright Spots: Tampa, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Jersey City

Realtor.com recently singled out four metro areas as “bright spots” in a monthly housing report. The real estate markets in Pittsburgh, PA; Jersey City, NJ; and Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida are currently benefiting from new construction, job gains, home-price appreciation and sales growth, according to Realtor.com’s chief economist Jonathan Smoke.

Across much of the country, sales activity at the local and metropolitan level is being restrained by limited inventory. But according to Realtor.com, supply and demand is more balanced in the four housing markets mentioned above.

“All four of these markets have very positive economic momentum,” said Jonathan Smoke.

The Realtor.com monthly report looks at current housing market statistics and compares them to conditions a year ago. It compiles data for 200 metropolitan areas across the United States, tracking price and inventory fluctuations for homes listed on the Realtor.com website specifically. The company calls the report a “barometer of market health” nationwide.

Many Housing Markets Have an Imbalance of Supply and Demand

So far, 2015 is shaping up to be the year of imbalance, at least where the housing market is concerned. Many local and metro-level real estate markets across the U.S. currently lack a good balance between qualified home buyers and properties available for sale. Limited inventory is a common trend affecting many cities right now. This forces buyers to compete with one another for a reduced number of on-market homes.

But what’s bad for buyers is often good for sellers. The nationwide imbalance of supply and demand is pushing prices up in many real estate markets across the country. Nationally, home prices rose by nearly 9% over the last year or so, according to the latest Realtor.com report.

As demand outpaces supply, home prices in most areas will likely continue to rise in 2015.

“We are not seeing enough growth in inventory to support recovering demand,” Smoke said.

“Optimal Balance” in Pittsburgh, Jersey City, Tampa and Jacksonville

Unlike the national trend toward imbalance, the real estate markets in Pittsburgh, Jersey City, Tampa and Jacksonville are currently benefiting from an “optimal balance” between housing inventory and demand.

According to Realtor.com’s chief economist, only these four standout markets have growth in inventory, which is a prerequisite for sustainable growth in demand.

Here’s a look at current trends and statistics for these four housing markets:

Jacksonville, FL — The median listing price in Jacksonville, Florida rose by 14% from January of last year to January 2015. The number of homes for sale rose by just under 2% during the same 12-month period. The current median list price at the time of publication: $228,000.

Jersey City, NJ — While the median list price dropped by 0.57% during 2014, Jersey City housing inventory rose by 2.3%.

Pittsburgh, PA — The number of homes listed for sale in the Pittsburgh housing market rose 3.6% over the last year or so. The median list price climbed 6% to land at $138,000.

Tampa, FL — The median list price for homes in the Tampa, Florida real estate market was $182,000 in January 2015. That’s an increase of 8.3% from last January. Inventory rose 2.5% during the same period.

Other Highlights from the Latest Housing Report

Here are some other noteworthy takeaways from the latest Realtor.com housing summary.

Denver, Colorado had the largest year-over-year increase in its median list price. The median listing value for homes in Denver rose by 38% from January of last year to January 2015, more than any other metro area included in the report.

Houston, Texas had the second-highest increase in its median list price. The midpoint for listing prices in this housing market rose 37.7% over the last year or so.

Las Vegas, Nevada saw the biggest decline in total inventory, according to the Realtor.com summary. Last month there were 37% fewer homes listed for sale in Las Vegas, compared to the same time a year ago. This suggests that buyers are facing increased competition for reduced inventory.