Prices Up, Inventories Down

Existing-home sales last month were down slightly but they remain at about a 4.6 million level, as they have since January, so if that level holds for the remainder of the year we could see a strong 2012, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said at a press conference in Washington today.

The relatively strong performance this first quarter stems from the improving economy, Yun said. But it also has to do with the pent-up demand that’s been building for the last several years. At some point, people doubling up or living with parents will start forming households, as they always do when the population increases, and many of these households will buy. Yun thinks we’re seeing signs of this now.

Along with the relatively high level of sales, inventories are down, which helps on prices, and that’s reflected in the numbers. The national median home price is up more than 2 percent from last year.

It’s possible larger homes are being sold (normal for this time of year), so that could account for some of the price increase. But also distressed sales as a percentage of the market are starting to decline. So, that could be having an impact on prices, too.

All in all, despite the slight dip in volume, the picture looks relatively good going into the spring buying season.


Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at

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  1. It is definitely the case in Denver, Colorado! We are seeing a crazy seller’s market right now. The amount of homes on the market is at 1990 levels and I have heard multiple accounts from other brokers that they are having to submit offers at or above list price just to be considered! I have a couple of investors that are even considering making full price offers for a property they would still need to fix up, and they are still getting outbid! It is a great time to be a seller in Colorado!


    The distressed sales are down due to the bad mnagement of the REO’s. Most REOs are in such bad shape that even the most desperate investor (the banks are too taugh on loans stil) won’t buy it.