Positive monthly housing stats point to recovery: RE/MAX
Home sales are trending positively on a monthly basis, according to the RE/MAX May housing report, a sign the market bottomed out at the beginning of 2011. RE/MAX reported the number of closed transactions in May increased 3.3% from April, although sales remain 13.6% below a year earlier. Prices increased 3.7% between April and May, but also remain 7.2% lower than 2010. Margaret Kelly, chief executive officer of RE/MAX, said positive monthly data could signal a trend that will manifest throughout the remainder of 2011. "It's a very good sign that prices are starting to rise on a monthly basis," Kelly said. "This may indicate that we've turned the corner and are headed in a positive direction." The report said financing requirements, poor appraisals and unemployment seem to be the hindrances to recovery. In May, 42 of the 53 metropolitan markets surveyed by RE/MAX experienced a monthly rise in transaction volume, with 15 markets seeing double-digit increases. Five metro areas witnessed an increase in sale volume compared to a year earlier. Phoenix sales rose 10.9% compared to May 2010, Miami sales increased 10.2%, Las Vegas sales rose 9.1%, Tampa, Fla., increased 3.5% and Providence, R.I., sales climbed 1.8%. RE/MAX reported the median sale price at $183,815 in May, up 3.7% from April but down from $198,119 in May 2010. Providence, R.I., experienced the largest jump in price compared to April, up to 10.2%. The average amount of days a home spent on the market in May declined to 94 days. Time spent on the market has been consistently decreasing since the beginning of the year, RE/MAX said. The company reported a housing inventory equal to nearly 7 months supply, down from 8.5 months in May 2010. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.