Trulia: Spring’s Hottest Housing Markets

The pace of housing sales is quickening nationwide, and in one particular state, homes are selling faster than anywhere else in the country this spring.

Nationally, 60% of homes listed for sale on February 5 were still on the market on April 5, slightly less than 62% for the same period last year, according to a recent Trulia Trends analysis, which calculated the share of homes for sale over a two-month period to determine where homes are moving the fastest and in which markets.

Among the top 10 fastest-moving housing markets across the U.S. this spring, California is the Golden State for a number of reasons. Aside from Seattle and Salt Lake City, the state is home to eight of the 10 housing markets where home sales have been heating up over the last two months.

“If you’re a home seller, California may indeed be the Golden State,” writes Trulia Housing Economist Ralph McLaughlin. “Eight of the 10 fastest-moving housing markets are there, and homes are selling much faster than in the Northeast, South, and Midwest.”

In three San Francisco Bay Area metros, less than 30% of homes for sale remained on the market after two months. Compared to February’s inventory, come April only 26% of homes were still for sale in San Francisco, while only 30% remained in San Jose and Oakland, respectively.

Other California metros seeing their for-sale housing stock getting snatched up at a quickening pace included San Diego, where 33% of homes were still for sale; Orange County (41%); Sacramento (42%); Los Angeles (43%); and Ventura County (43%).

The California exceptions were Seattle and Salt Lake City, where the share of homes still for sale after two months were 42% and 45%.

In contrast, the most sluggish markets are almost exclusively located on the East Coast, primarily in the Northeast with New York leading the way.

The New York markets of Albany, Long Island and Syracuse held onto 71%, 69% and 68% of homes still for sale from February to April. Meanwhile, southern markets such as Columbia, S.C., and Knoxville, Tenn., followed close behind, with each retaining 67% of their for-sale inventory over the course of those two months.

But why do some markets speed up while others slow down? Large year-over-year price gains continue to be indicators of fast-moving housing markets, as Trulia notes asking prices rose near or above the national average of 5% year-over-year in six of the 10 fastest-moving markets.

This dynamic of rising prices and greater competition especially doesn’t bode well for first-time homebuyers trying to enter the housing market.

“The combination of an expensive market and fast-selling homes at the low tier is yet another hurdle for first-timers, who are already getting slammed by declining affordability and slow wage growth,” McLaughlin writes. “Now, even the homes they might be able to afford seem to be disappearing in the blink of an eye.”

Read more at Trulia.

Written by Jason Oliva

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