The FINANCIAL -- RealtyTrac on May 27 released its April 2015 U.S. Home Sales Report. RealtyTrac analyzed average sales prices and estimated market values at time of sale for single family homes and condos sold in April in 315 U.S. counties to identify the nation’s hottest seller’s markets, best buyer’s markets and those markets evenly balanced between buyers and sellers.
“Nationwide, in April single family homes and condos sold for almost exactly 100 percent of their estimated full market value on average — indicating a good balance between supply from sellers and demand from buyers,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “At the local level, however, most markets tipped in favor of either sellers or buyers — although there were some Goldilocks markets exhibiting a ‘just right’ balance between buyers and sellers.”
Sellers getting more than market value in 27 percent of markets
Out of 315 counties nationwide with a population of at least 100,000 and at least 100 sales in April, there were 85 (27 percent) where homes on average sold for at least 101 percent of their estimated full market value — led by Alameda and San Francisco counties in the Bay Area of California (both with average sale prices at 108 percent of estimated full market values), the District of Columbia in the Washington, DC metro area (107 percent), Forsyth County, North Carolina in the Winston-Salem metro area (107 percent) and Yolo County, California in the Sacramento metro area (107 percent).
Buyers purchasing below market value in 59 percent of markets
Out of 315 counties studied, there were 186 (59 percent) where homes on average sold for less than 100 percent of their estimated full market value — led by Saint Louis City, Missouri (77 percent), Baltimore City, Maryland (78 percent), Beaver County, Pennsylvania in the Pittsburgh metro area (82 percent), Bartow County, Georgia in the Atlanta metro area (84 percent), and Chittenden County, Vermont in the Burlington metro area (85 percent).
Homes selling at market value in 14 percent of markets
In the 315 counties studied there were 44 (14 percent) where homes on average sold for 100 percent of their estimated full market value — including Maricopa County, Arizona In the Phoenix metro area, Riverside County in inland Southern California, Montgomery County, Maryland in the Washington, DC metro area, Fulton County, Georgia in the Atlanta metro area, and Wake County, North Carolina in the Raleigh metro area.
Other high-level findings from the RealtyTrac April 2015 U.S. Homes Sales Report
The U.S. median home sales price was $171,700 in April, down 1 percent from previous month but still up 2 percent from year ago. It was the slowest annual home price appreciation nationwide since April 2012.
28.7 percent of all single family and condo home sales in April were all-cash purchases, down from 29.9 percent in March and down from 32.8 percent in April 2014. Metros with the highest share of all-cash purchases were all in Florida: Sarasota (59.4 percent), Cape Coral-Fort Myers, (57.2 percent), Miami (56.5 percent), Tampa (53.0 percent) and Lakeland (47.1 percent).
3.7 percent of all single family home sales in April were to institutional investors — entities purchasing at least 10 homes in a calendar year — the same as the previous month but down from 5.5 percent of all single family home sales in April 2014. Metros with the highest share of institutional investor purchases were Charlotte, North Carolina (27.2 percent), Atlanta, Georgia (17.5 percent), Memphis, Tennessee (11.8 percent), Lakeland, Florida (10.2 percent), and Tampa, Florida (9.1 percent).
Local market perspectives
“The Seattle housing market is completely controlled by sellers right now,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market, where average sale prices were above average estimated market values of homes that sold in April in all three counties comprising the metro area. “Homes are selling as quickly as they’re listed and usually for well over asking price. Some are concerned about the potential of another housing bubble given the lack of homes for sale and the bullishness of buyers in bidding up properties, but for now I believe that there are sufficient safeguards in place to keep this from happening. That being said, we can expect prices to continue rising at a steady pace until we start seeing the additional inventory that we so desperately need.”
“We are in a strong balanced market tipping toward a seller’s market,” said Mike Pappas, CEO and president of the Keyes Company, covering the South Florida market, where average sales prices were between 97 and 99 percent of average market values of homes that sold in April in the three counties comprising the metro area. “Even our waning distressed inventory prices are popping and selling above the appraisal price.”
“Through April, much of the Ohio markets have experienced lower than normal available market inventories, creating a pool of pent-up demand amongst buyers wishing to take advantage of lower interest rates, and lower historical prices,” said Michael Mahon, president at HER Realtors, covering the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus markets in Ohio. Franklin County in the Columbus metro area was the only county in the state with average sale prices higher than average market values for homes sold in April. “This pent-up demand is resulting in fewer days on market, and escalating prices within the particular metros of Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus. Multiple-offer situations are creating added value for sellers in popular communities.”