NAR Says Homes Selling Faster

With inventory shrinking and demand increasing, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said today that the amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking.

For traditional sellers, the turnaround in the range of historic norms, below the peak levels attained in 2009.

The median time a home was listed for sale was 69 days in July, down 29.6% from 98 days a year earlier. The median reflects a wide spectrum, with one-third of homes purchased in July sitting on the market for less than a month, while one in five for at least six months.

NAR notes the figures can be misleading at times because any recent flux of new listings can skew the numbers downward.

NAR’s new measure reveals a longer selling time than historic findings, which measured only non-distressed homes so comparing the new numbers to past years isn’t a true comparison. NAR now figures in short sales, which generally take three months or longer to sell.

Factoring out short sales, the median time on market for traditional sellers is about six to seven weeks, NAR said. That compares to 10 weeks in 2009, considered the peak list time for non-distressed buyers since the economic downturn. The median price fell 12.9% that year, which was the biggest annual decline on record.

NAR projects median existing home prices will rise 4.5% to 5% in 2012 and about 5% in 2013, somewhat stronger than historic norms because of the pronounced inventory shortfall in the low price ranges.

During the 2004 to 2005 peak of the housing boom, inventory averaged 4.3 months, and the median list time totaled just four weeks. Prices during that time frame rose 10.3% annually, NAR said.

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