February home sales slowed in February, while prices increased by double digits over last year, according to the latest from RE/MAX.
RE/MAX’s survey of MLS data in 52 metros found the February results to be nearly identical to January.
Median home price rose 11.6% compared to the same month in 2013, and is now at $180,450. Home sales dropped by 8.8%, compared to January's year-to-year loss of 7.1%.
RE/MAX’s report blamed unusually harsh winter weather on the declines in appraisals, inspections and closings.
Further, they found, low inventories in many metro areas had a negative impact on sales.
"A combination of severe weather and low inventories appears to have slowed February home sales. The improving economy, increasing new-home construction and significant pent-up demand should all be critical factors as we move into the traditionally stronger sales months of spring and summer. Sales during these months will determine the overall picture for 2014," said Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX CEO.
Transactions – Year-Over-Year Change
In the 52 metro areas surveyed for the February report, home sales were down an average of 8.8% from February last year and remained roughly equivalent to January sales with just a 0.8% drop. February becomes only the third month in the last 32 months to experience a year-to-year sales decline. Although winter months normally record the lowest home sales of the year, unusually harsh weather disrupted numerous home sales in February. Of all 52 metro areas surveyed, 42 saw year-to-year sales decrease. Due to low inventories, many metros that saw the highest price increases also saw the largest drop in sales from last year including: Las Vegas, NV -22.0%, Detroit, MI -18.3%, Orlando, FL -15.9%, San Diego, CA -15.0% and San Francisco, CA -14.3%
Median Sales Price
The February RE/MAX National Housing Report found a Median Sales Price of $180,450, which was 4.3% higher than the Median Sales Price in January and 11.6% higher than the price seen in February last year. On a year-to-year basis, the Median Sales Price has now increased for 25 consecutive months. Low inventory has placed significant pressure on home prices throughout this period.
Among the 52 metro areas surveyed, 44 reported higher sales prices than one year ago. Of those, 18 reported double-digit increases including: Detroit, MI +35.8%, San Francisco, CA +25.0%, Las Vegas, NV +24.1%, Atlanta, GA +20.3%, Los Angeles, CA +19.3% and Orlando, FL +17.4%.