The U.S. Median home listing price recently hit a historic high of $300,000 according to realtor.com’s March housing data. That’s up 7 % from last March. Despite a slowing housing market, prices in a number of metros are still increasing, many at lower rates than a year ago. “This is the first time we’ve seen that number hit the $300,000 point nationally,” explained Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com. With the spring buying season kick-off, Hale expects “steady price growth to continue in 2019, with the exception of areas like San Jose.”
This happened despite that inventories kept increasing, though at a slower pace. Realtor.com saw national inventory grow 4 % this March compared to March 2018. That number jumped to a 9% increase when you look at the 50 largest U.S. metros. The only market sector where the inventory decreased by 9% year-over-year was in that hard to find entry-level market of homes priced below $200,000.
According to realtor.com, “the continuing rise in national median home listing prices in the midst of a market slowdown is likely attributed to inventory growth in the upper tier of the nation’s most expensive markets. The number of homes priced above $750,000 grew 11 percent over last year.”
The key market indicator, Days on Market, (DOM) points to the steepest increases in Kansas City, Missouri, Hartford, Connecticut and Indianapolis, Indiana. Hot markets where DOM decreased was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Birmingham, Alabama, and Oklahoma City. The news for buyers varies based on the market conditions they encounter within their individual price points. “A lot depends on where buyers are looking and at what,” Hale confirms. The flip side of that equation applies to sellers also.
Let’s look at hot markets where homes are selling fast to see what that median listing price range buys. Some metros across the country even come in with solid single-family properties at less than that number.
In Pittsburgh for $250,000, you can pick up a 1930’s colonial with four bedrooms and two baths complete with hardwood flooring, original woodwork, updated kitchen, and spacious backyard.
Down South in Birmingham to the desirable Crestwood area. For $309,900, there is a 2,230 square foot home on a third of an acre with a lovely backyard.
Over to Oklahoma City, you get a lot for your money at that median $300,000 price point. At Warwick Estates, a sprawling move-in ready 2,423 square foot brick ranch is currently offered at $234,900.
Realtor.com’s Hale expects “not to see signs of slowing during the prime buying months of June and July.” Check back here in the fall to see where the national median home listing price will be.
Ellen Paris, Contributor
I have covered the business of real estate (both residential and commercial) for over twenty-five years. I spent 12 years in the Forbes Los Angeles bureau reporting and writing about as I call it, Adventures in Real Estate.