The latest RE/MAX National Housing Report showed that home sales decreased in January on a year-over-year comparison, while prices rose.
According to the data - which surveys 54 metropolitan areas - home sales fell 7.1 percent in January compared to the year before. The report noted that the decline was primarily due to winter weather this season, as storms likely forced many would-be buyers to put off a purchase. The data also showed that the median home price was $173,475 in January, marking an 11.6 percent increase from January 2013.
"We usually expect to see fewer home sales in the winter months, but January experienced particularly severe storms in a large part of the country, which disrupted appraisals, inspections and closings," said Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX CEO. "However, the real story for home sales in 2014 will begin to unfold in the coming spring and summer months."
As the warmer months of the year are typically when sales are most prevalent, 2014 is shaping up to be a strong year for housing. Despite the decline in sales in January, other reports are showing that the recovery is likely to continue as values rose last year, helping convince more homeowners to put their houses on the market.
Home values jumped in 2013
A separate report from Zillow, a real estate brokerage, showed that home values increased in 2013. As low inventory levels have a been a thorn in the side of the housing market since the recession, any increase in value will help add to inventory, encouraging homeowners to capitalize on the increases.
Zillow showed that home values averaged $169,100 at the end of the fourth quarter in 2013, marking a 1.4 percent jump from the third quarter and a 0.6 percent increase when compared to November. In December 2013, home values were 6.4 percent higher than when compared to December 2012. The trend of rising home values won't likely stop in 2014, either. Zillow predicted that values will rise 4.8 percent more in 2014.
This easing in home values is a part of the housing market continuing to find a healthy balance.
"At the same time, we expect more homes to be available this year as more sellers enter the market and more homes get built, and a decline in investor competition should make for a more hospitable market for many buyers," said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. "While a truly 'normal' market remains a ways off, we expect to take more steps in that direction as appreciation moderates, negative equity recedes, federal stimulus is withdrawn and foreclosures wane."
Hottest market in 2014
Another report from ZipRealty, a residential real estate brokerage firm and real estate marketing solutions provider, showed where buyer interest is heaviest.
"We analyzed home search activity on our site over the past year to find out where people are most interested in buying homes," said CEO Lanny Baker. "Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston have the most Saved Home searches on our website. And these three metros were among the healthiest in 2013, outperforming the nation in year-over-year median home price growth and shortest days on market, based on a year's worth of data collected in our Housing Trends Reports."
The hottest markets in 2014 include Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Chicago and Phoenix.
As the housing market is poised to show growth in 2014, homebuyers will want to make sure they have take all the necessary steps to become a homeowner. That means having a home inspection. Not only will this give them peace of mind, but it will provide protection in the event of an accident.