For the first time since 2009, residential real estate sales are at their highest levels, thanks to a limited and competitive market. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home transactions rose 4.2 percent, which is 5.18 million as of last month and a 12.9 percent increase from a year ago.
The median housing price for all housing types was $208,000 in May, an increase of 15.4 percent from May 2012. This is also the strongest gain since October 2005, when there was a 16.6 percent jump. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun believes the real estate recovery is getting stronger and he does not foresee an increase in housing supplies this upcoming year, unless new home construction goes up another 50 percent, which is unlikely to happen.
The total housing inventory for May rose to 2.22 million homes for sale, which represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.2 months in April. The reason for this is that, during the housing boom, credit and overbuilding policies were flexible, but today, lending requirements are tighter and there are fewer homes available on the market.
According to NAR data, it took 41 days to sell a property in May, down from 46 days in April. Forty-five percent of homes on the market in May were not even listed for a month before they were sold.