Top-10 Housing Market Highlights from Realtor.com’s Latest Report

Each month, Realtor.com publishes a monthly housing summary with stats and trends for 146 major metropolitan areas across the U.S. This detailed report is based on real estate listings posted on the Realtor.com website, a large data set by any measurement. It gives us some insight into what is happening at the local level, in metro-level housing markets across the country.

The latest report was published on August 20, 2014, and contained data through July 2014.

According to Realtor.com, the July report shows the most robust end of the spring home-buying “season” in three years:

For the first time in three years, July data shows the price appreciation and inventory increases established during peak buying season (from April to July) continue their upward trend, untouched by external economic factors.

Top-10 Housing Market Highlights at the Local / Metro level

Here are some housing-market highlights that have occurred at the local level over the last year, as of August 2014:

  1. The Stockton-Lodi, CA metropolitan area had the largest year-over-year increase in its median list price (the mid-point for real estate listing / asking prices in the area). According to the latest data, the median for this metro rose by 31.9% over the last year or so. Out of the 146 other cities in the report, none came close to matching Stockton-Lodi in this particular category.
  2. Several other metro-level housing markets saw annual increases in list prices near 20%. They included Reno, NV (+19.6%); Corpus Christi, TX (+19.3%); and Sacramento, CA (+19.0%).
  3. On the other end of the spectrum, the median list price declined the most in Fayetteville, NC, dropping by 7.6% from July 2013 to July 2014.
  4. Fort Lauderdale, FL had the largest monthly jump in listing prices, with the median climbing 13.2% from June to July of this year. This housing market experienced an annual list-price gain of 12.6%. But inventory appears to be growing, so home values will likely rise at a slower pace in the coming months.
  5. On the inventory side, the Phoenix-Mesa, AZ metro saw the largest year-over-year increase in the number of homes for sale. Total listings for this housing market rose by 38% over the last year or so. This growth trend has been ongoing for months now, and it’s taking the steam out of the rapid home-price gains we’ve seen in Phoenix over the last couple of years.
  6. Several California housing markets also experienced significant inventory growth over the last 12 months, according to Realtor.com’s listing data. These include Riverside-San Bernardino, CA, which had a 30.3% increase in inventory, as well as Ventura (+30.0%) and Fresno (+27.5%).
  7. The Stockton-Lodi, CA housing market experienced the biggest annual decline in listing volume. According to the report, the total number of homes listed for sale in this market fell by a whopping 40.2% over the last year. That means home buyers had 40% fewer properties to choose from in July 2014, compared to the same month in 2013. This partly accounts for the sharp increase in listing prices (see the first bullet point on this list).
  8. Significant year-over-year inventory declines were also seen in several metro-area real estate markets in California, including Sacramento (-25.9%) and San Jose (-18.6%).
  9. The Oakland, CA housing market had the lowest median age of inventory, at just 25 days. This metric gives us some insight into how quickly homes are selling within a certain area. But Oakland is also experiencing inventory growth at the moment — the total number of real estate listings rose by 20.3% over the last year. So it’s likely that properties will take longer to sell in the coming months, due to changes in the supply and demand picture.
  10. On the other end of the spectrum, homes appear to be selling much more slowly in the eastern / southeastern part of the country. The Myrtle Beach, SC housing market had the highest median age of inventory, at 121 days (four months). Punta Gorda, FL; Wilmington, NC; and Naples, FL also had inventory ages in excess of 100 days.

National Trend: Prices Rising More Slowly

Those are highlights from local real estate markets around the country. Nationally, the annual trend can be summed up as follows: Home prices are still rising in most cities across the country, but much more slowly than last year. Housing demand is still strong, resulting from increased consumer confidence and job gains, but this is being counteracted by rising inventory in many cities.

This national slowdown can be seen in other reports as well. For instance, the August 2014 edition of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a “sustained slowdown in price increases” nationwide. The publishers added that every city in their 20-city composite “saw its year-over-year return worsen.” That doesn’t mean prices are dropping in these housing markets (they’re still moving north). It just means that house values are rising much more slowly today than in the past. File it under ‘N’ for normalization.

Disclaimers: This story contains third-party data that is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. It also contains forward-looking statements (projections, predictions, etc.) relating to housing markets across the U.S. Such statements are matters of opinion and should not be viewed as facts. We make no guarantees or assertions about future home prices or other economic conditions.