Listing Prices on the up in Most Markets

During March, home listing prices rose 1.1%, increasing in 16 of the nation’s major housing markets, according to data released Monday by Altos Research LLC and Real IQ. Prices dropped, however, on a month-on-month basis in eight other American cities. The report finds that listing price increases are tracking a shift toward the higher-end properties on the market. The median price of the listings absorbed was only $432,000 as less expensive properties come off the market, and more expensive properties come on the market, the median price climbs, the report said. Additionally in March, the median price for new listings in Altos’ separate 10-City Composite Index was $460,000. The largest monthly drop in asking prices occurred in Salt Lake City, followed closely by Las Vegas with drops of 4.0% and 3.9% respectively. Listing prices in Las Vegas are now down by over 37% during the last 12 months with the median listing price plunging from $318,157 year-on-year to $198,434 as of March 9 2009. 7 markets — New York, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami and Charlotte — show sequential price increases for the last three months. Prices rose at the fastest rate in San Francisco which experienced a jump of 3.8%. Across the 10-City Composite Index markets, inventory increased by 1.3% during March and by 2.2% over the most recent three month period. Inventory jumped in 16 of 26 markets which Altos said can likely be attributed to typical industry seasonality. The question becomes whether a sustained increase in inventory during the spring selling season will overwhelm housing demand weakened by job losses and tight credit or whether low mortgage rates will provide a floor for the market. Typically, houses spent more than 100 days on market in March.  Salt Lake City, by contrast, averaged 84 days on market. By far, the market with the slowest rate of inventory turnover was Miami with a median of 234 days-on-market or nearly eight months. Write to Kelly Curran at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade

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