Realtor.com, a housing search portal operated by the National Association of Realtors that shows homes from the Multiple Listing Service, reported that online searches were up 15.14% over a year ago, as the spring homebuying season begins.
The median list price remained stable at $199,500, just above February's $199,000 median list price and 0.25% below the median list price last March.
Not only has inventory risen, but in many cities houses also are staying on the market longer. The median number of days homes were on the market was 160 in March, down 2.44% from February, but up 40.35% from the 114 days on the market in March 2010. One major question that hangs over any discussion of market recovery is how much shadow inventory is still waiting to hit the market.
The story varies considerably by city, of course.
In California, properties are selling faster, and the median age of the inventory is much lower than the national average. The cities where homes were staying on the market the shortest times were Oakland, Calif. (50 days), San Francisco (63 days), Iowa City, Iowa (66 days), Denver (66 days), Los Angeles-Long Beach (70 days), San Jose, Calif. (71 days), Tulsa, Okla. (71 days), Stockton, Calif. (70 days), Fresno, Calif. (71 days), Anchorage, Alaska (71 days) and San Diego(79 days).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the median age of the inventory was more than 200 days in most Florida cities -- with Fort Lauderdale a notable exception at 99 days -- and in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Asheville, N.C.; and Santa Fe, N.M.
The areas recording the largest increase in median list price since last March were Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla. (24.12%), Fort-Collins-Loveland, Colo. (6%), Columbia, Mo. (6%), Santa Fe, N.M. (4.82%), Miami (4.6%) and the Virginia suburbs outside Washington, D.C. (4.11%).
Areas showing the largest declines in median price since last year were Santa Barbara, Calif. (19.57%), Detroit (13.84%) and Reno, Nev. (11.51%).
Realtor.com saw a glimmer of hope in the data: "The rate of growth in the number of
searches exceeded the growth in the overall inventory … suggesting that demand may be strengthening in relationship to overall supply."