In October, a decrease in annual home sales contributed to the first year-over-year inventory increase in a decade, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report.
RE/MAX reports that sales declined 4.6% from the same time a year ago, marking the eighth month of 2018 to record sales lower than 2017.
Notably, the median sales price recorded one of its lowest increases of 2018, falling 1.3% from September to $236,000. Despite this, the median sale price increased 4.9% from October 2017. The report states this is the 31st consecutive month of year-over-year price increases and the highest October reading in the report’s 10-year history.
According to RE/MAX, the number of homes for sale in October declined 2.6% from September, but increased 1% from the same time a year ago. October’s supply is now 3.5 months, rising from 3.3 a year ago. RE/MAX states this is the first time since October 2008 that inventory has increased year-over-year.
RE/MAX explained this month’s supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.
“The market continues to move toward equilibrium. The modest inventory increase is a much welcome sign for buyers," RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos said. "Although home sales were down year-over-year, it's encouraging to see the magnitude of the decline decrease from the sharp drop we witnessed in September. The trend of easing price increases remains and that's also a positive."
According to the company, of the 53 metro areas surveyed in October 2018, the overall average number of home sales is up 4.3% from September, and down 4.6% from October 2017. It’s worth noting that 14 of 53 metro areas experienced an increase in sales year-over-year.
"The imbalance that has defined this market for so long continues to moderate," Contos continued. "However, it will take some time to recalibrate. Rising prices and interest rates and tight inventory levels continue. Buyer and seller expectations still appear to be a bit mismatched suggesting a choppy market remains in place."
NOTE: The RE/MAX National Housing Report is based on MLS data in approximately 53 metropolitan areas, including all residential property types, and is not annualized. For maximum representation, many of the largest metro areas in the country are represented, and an attempt is made to include at least one metro from each state.