May brought a mix of real estate news: median prices are up in more than half of US metros for the first quarter and builder confidence is at its highest point in five years; on the other hand, the shadow inventory of foreclosures still looms in the background and home prices are still at post-housing bust lows compared to a year ago, according to the Case-Shiller index.
In other words, the housing market is finding its bottom. But it’s taking a while.
Still, we’re seeing positive signs on the regional and city level. Here are four cities that are faring especially well this spring.
San Francisco: Home Prices are Up
San Francisco is notorious for its expensive real estate. It’s a micro-market of affluence, gorgeous homes, or alternatively high rents and small apartments.
This certainly did not protect it from the housing crisis. According to the Case-Shiller index, San Francisco fell a whopping 46.1% in market value from its peak in May of 2006.
But when we look at recent figures, prices on homes for sale in San Francisco are up 4.62% in April as compared to March. The current median price stands at a healthy $679,000 – the highest point since October 2010. Plus, homes are selling fast – the median age of a listing is a mere 42 days. San Francisco is hot and very competitive right now!
Seattle: Following on San Francisco’s Heels
Seattle is another market where homes are selling pretty quickly – the current median age of a listing market clocks in at just 4 days more than San Francisco at 46.
Seattle’s declines were less dramatic and its price rebound has also followed suit with prices moving up 4.46% month-to-month to $328,900. Also this is down from a high of $349,950 in May 2010, the jump of $14,000 from March to April suggests that Seattle is picking up speed.
We may even see a return to the two-year high by the end of the summer!
Denver: Homes Going Fast
Denver is a city that held fairly steady through the housing bust storm. Its decline from its peak—while still double-digits at 14.3%--are the second-lowest on the Case-Shiller index.
Inventory of unsold homes for sale in Denver is up almost 3,000 year-over-year, and those homes are selling fast! Of the cities on Relator.com’s report, Denver has the lowest median age of a listing: only 32 days!
That means there are lots of homes selling in under a month. If you’re in Denver and trying to buy, move quickly – you have lots of competition.
Minneapolis: Home Prices Rising Sharply
Moving farther east to Minneapolis, here’s a market where the median list price jumped nearly 8 percent from March to April. At $199,500—yes, a pretty low median price—Minneapolis is seeing the best median prices since October of 2010.
Minneapolis has also seen a pretty big drop in inventory. Although April’s inventory is up 1.61%, there are about 4,000 fewer homes for sale than the same time last year.’
If inventory stays down, we can expect prices to continue to rise even more.
That’s about it for this month’s real estate recap. Let us know which markets you’d like us to focus on next!
· Just What in the Heck is an S&P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index?
· Denver Real Estate Spotlight
· Real Estate Recap for February 2012
Sarah Louise Green lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes about national real estate trends, home financing, advice for buyers, and DIY projects for the home and garden. Follow Sarah on Twitter:@slouisegreen