The new year started on a positive note in January, with inventories at record lows and list prices holding steady on a year-over-year basis. Whether this shows a continuation of the nascent housing recovery into 2013 will depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of the overall economy, the cost and availability of mortgage credit, consumer expectations regarding future housing prices, and the success of continuing efforts to stem the flow of new foreclosures.
If inventories remain low — and if list prices begin to rise during the next few months, as they did last year — conditions are ripe for additional house price appreciation in 2013. However, such gains are likely to be concentrated in markets already well into their recovery process, such as California, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and many sand states.
2013 Best Places to Sell
With two months remaining before the home-buying season opens, sellers have a huge advantage. In tight markets, such as the top five “Best Places to Sell,” sellers benefit from better prices than they’ve seen in years
Best Places to Sell
- Sacramento, CA. In recent months, Sacramento has experienced dramatic declines in inventory levels, reporting 67.20 percent fewer homes for sale in January than a year ago. Record low inventories have led to a 40.20 percent increase in median prices, yet demand is strong, with properties spending less than a month on the market. Sellers here can anticipate quick sales and primo prices.
- San Jose, CA. Ranking fourth in the nation in terms of tight inventory, supply clearly is not keeping up with demand in Silicon Valley. Prices are up nearly 25 percent compared with this time in 2012 and still climbing, but not as quickly as in Sacramento. The region’s strong economy is driving up both rents and home prices.
- San Francisco, CA. Prices have risen dramatically, inventories are down drastically and properties are selling in less than two months. The inventory shortage created a powerful sellers’ market where list prices rose more than 20 percent in the past year, a sure sign that sellers can anticipate a profitable spring season.
- Phoenix-Mesa, AZ. Once the hottest market for foreclosures, Phoenix alternately became a hub for price increases in 2012. List prices have increased 23.59 percent since January 2012, and inventories decreased 15.88 percent since a year ago. In recent months, price and supply fluctuations have stabilized, so buyers should be able to find affordable properties if sellers take advantage of the improving price picture and list their homes this year, increasing supply.
- Washington, DC. List prices have improved a respectable 16.33 percent in the D.C. market during the past 12 months, and one reason is a 30.77 percent decrease in inventory. With a median price of $429,900, D.C. is one of the nation’s priciest markets, and if inventories don’t grow substantially between now and cherry blossom season in March and April, prices will continue to rise. For locals thinking about selling, this looks to be one of the best markets in years.