RE/MAX: US home sales returned to positive territory in January
National home sales increased in January, breaking a six-month streak of home sales declines, with some markets experiencing double-digit increases, RE/MAX said Friday in its latest National Housing Report. Last month, home sales were 0.7% higher when compared to January of 2010. The move to positive territory hinged on the recording of double-digit sales increases in key markets, including Miami, Tampa, Richmond, New Orleans and Phoenix. All of these markets saw home sales rise by at least 16%. For last month, the RE/MAX National Housing Report also reported a 3.6% month-over-month drop in housing inventory and a 5.6% decline in inventory on a year-over-year basis. “We’re very pleased that sales this January are higher than last January, and we’re hopeful that this indicates even higher sales this spring,” said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. “Although inventories have been steadily shrinking for months, an increase in foreclosure activity could reverse this trend and produce additional pressure on prices.” While home inventory and sales measures improved in January, prices dropped 4.6% on a year-over-year basis, the largest drop since May 2010. The median national home price also tumbled 4.6% from $186,610 in January 2010 to $178,017 last month. Write to Kerri Panchuk.