Real Estate Listing Trends for Major U.S. Cities, July 2014

A week ago, Realtor.com published their latest Monthly Housing Summary. The detailed report includes real estate trends and data for 146 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) across the United States. It shows weekly and annual changes in median list prices for homes, total number of listings, and median age of inventory.

Here are some noteworthy real estate trends and highlights from the latest report, with an emphasis on listings and list prices.

10 Metro Areas Where List Prices Have Risen the Most

We sorted the data by list price to find out which cities had the largest year-over-year increase in their median asking prices for homes. The following metro areas had the largest annual gains in this category, from May 2013 to May 2014:

  1. Stockton-Lodi, CA (+42.7%)
  2. Las Vegas, NV (+24.1%)
  3. Houston, TX (+23.1%)
  4. Reno, NV (+22.9%)
  5. Denver, CO (+20.7%)
  6. Riverside-San Bernardino, CA (+19.7%)
  7. Sacramento, CA (+19.3%)
  8. Boulder-Longmont, CO (+19.3%)
  9. San Diego, CA (+17.7%)
  10. Austin-San Marcos, TX (+17.3%)

Decline: On the other end of the spectrum, list prices declined in the following cities and metro areas over the last year:

  • Fayetteville, NC (-8.0%)
  • Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL (-6.0%)
  • Shreveport-Bossier City, LA (-5.0%)
  • Akron, OH (-3.9%)
  • Chattanooga, TN (-1.3%)
  • Cedar Rapids, IA (-0.6%)
  • New Haven, CT (-0.5%)

5 MSAs Where Total Listings Have Increased the Most

The Monthly Housing Report also shows weekly and annual trends for the total number of listings (i.e., homes for sale) on the Realtor.com website. Here’s where listing volume / inventory has grown the most over the last 12 months or so:

  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (+64%)
  2. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (+39%)
  3. Ventura, CA (+32%)
  4. Boise City, ID (+31%)
  5. Bakersfield, CA (+30%)

Shrinkage: On the other end of the spectrum, homes are getting harder to find in the five cities and metros listed below. Here is where the total number of listings has declined the most, year over year:

  • Stockton-Lodi, CA (-38%)
  • Boulder-Longmont, CO (-34%)
  • Houston, TX (-32%)
  • Las Vegas, NV (-28%)
  • New York, NY (-27%)

If you compare the “shrinkage” list above with the top-ten list for annual price gains, you’ll see a direct correlation. Four of the fastest “shrinking” markets also appeared in the top ten for list price increases (Stockton, Boulder, Houston and Las Vegas). It’s supply and demand. In these markets, real estate pricing has risen in response to inventory declines. In short, home buyers are competing for a smaller number of homes, which leads to higher offers.

Home Price Trends Nationwide

According to the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, released toward the end of June, home prices nationwide are still rising but at a slower pace than in the past.

“Although home prices rose in April, the annual gains weakened,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Overall, prices are rising month-to-month but at a slower rate.”

Of the 20 cities tracked by this particular index, the annual gains were largest in Las Vegas (18.8%) and San Francisco (18.2%). Here again, it’s an inventory story — or a lack of inventory, to be precise. The number of homes for sale fell by more than 20% over the last year, in both Las Vegas and San Francisco. Sellers in these and similar markets are dealing with bidding wars and offers above market value.

In most U.S. metro areas, real estate list prices are still rising faster than wage growth, which creates affordability problems for many would-be buyers. This is according to a report published this month by the housing researchers at Trulia.

According to Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, affordability continues to be a problem for both renters and home buyers in many parts of the country. “Asking home prices rose faster than wages in 95 of 100 metros,” he noted.