December home sales did not follow the seasonal trend but rose an unexpected 5.7% from sales in November, according to new data released by RE/MAX LLC. Sales were also up 1.1% from December 2010, marking the sixth consecutive month to show a year-over-year sales increase.
RE/MAX credits a lower volume of foreclosures for contributing to the 18th straight month that the average inventory of homes for sale has declined. In December 2011, the average inventory of homes for sale was 25.7% lower than December 2010 level. Home prices remained nearly even with November prices, down just 0.35% and were down 3.5% from December 2010. For homes sold in December, the average days on market was 98, just one day higher than the average reported in November, and two days higher than the average seen in December 2010.
According to RE/MAX, December's median sales price of sold homes was $179,587, which was nearly even with the November median price. December home prices were fractionally lower than what was seen in November, and 3.5% lower than December 2010. On a month-to-month basis in 2011, prices rose in five months and declined in seven.
In a December survey of 53 metro areas, 20 showed price increases from November, while 11 experienced price increases over December last year, including Miami (16.7%); Orlando, Fla. (14%); Little Rock, Ark. (6.9%); and Phoenix (6.4%).
‘We're pleasantly surprised to see the year end with such strong sales, and hope this trend will continue into the traditional spring selling season,’ says Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX LLC. ‘This December jump may be due to increased investor involvement and transactions that were scheduled to occur before the end of the year, but with prices at or very near the bottom and historically low interest rates, consumers are finding real value in this market.’