2012 prices end with a whimper

By STEVE COOK, UPI.com   |   Dec. 31, 2012 at 4:19 PM   |   Comments

The national median list price fell to $223,492 as of December 24, down 2.4 percent from a month earlier. The national media price was down 3.3 percent from the year’s high in April. List prices on houstracker.net are not seasonally adjusted.

The decline listing prices will likely be reflected in other indices when they are released. Year-over-year prices reached 4.3 percent in the October S&P Case Shiller 20-City Composite, the most recent report available. Sellers’ asking prices recorded on the MLS listings used by the housingtracker database are generally higher than final sales prices used by Case-Shiller.

Though slightly higher than last year, this year’s prices are far below the peak reached during the housing boom. The median asking price on housetracker.net for homes in the US peaked in June 2006 at $319,459 and is currently $93,817 lower, a peak-to-current decline of 29.4 percent. From a low of $211,844 in January 2011, the median asking price in the US has increased by $13,796, or 6.5 percent, in nearly two years.

While price increases in 2012 were not dramatic, inventory shortages were. Since this time last year, the national inventory of homes for sale has decreased by 23.6 percent and it has decreased 6.6 in the past month. Housing inventory, which is typically highest in the spring/summer and lowest in the fall/winter, peaked at 1,560,162 in October 2007. The lowest housing inventory level seen was 695,660 in December 2012.

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