Shrinking inventory of Metro Detroit homes and condominiums caused prices to jump last month, but overall sales dropped compared to one year ago, according to the monthly housing report released Monday by Farmington Hills-based RealComp II.
January marked the eleventh consecutive month the median sales price of homes in the four-county Metro Detroit rose by double-digit percentage points compared to the same period a year ago, according to RealComp. Last month the median sales price hit $110,000, a $30,000 jump from Jan. 2013, which amounts to a 37.5 percent increase.
But inventory dropped in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties and so did sales compared to the same period a year ago. And last January’s median sales price was also $10,800 less than December’s $120,800 median sales price.
Metro Detroit is following the national trend of declining inventory that is hampering sales. “The lack of inventory is a big obstacle for the housing market,” said Jed Smith, managing director of quantitative research for the National Association of Realtors in Washington. “It becomes a supply and demand issue; without more homes available, home prices will continue to rise, which is bad news for home buyers.” The danger is that the rising prices may make potential buyers wary of a potential bubble, Smith said.
January saw inventory drop to 13,465 homes and condominiums in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties, a 13.3 percent dip compared with the 15,537 sales in January 2013, according to the report released Monday. The low number of homes and condominiums cut overall sales and in many neighborhoods, it sparked bidding wars among potential buyers.
The number of Metro Detroit sales dropped by 13.8 percent to 3,336 last month, compared with Jan. 2013.
Median sales prices in Oakland County rose to $155,000, a 17.4 percent increase from Jan. 2013. Sales fell to 1,120 a 10.8 percent drop. Inventory remained scarce, falling to 4,311 properties, an 11.4 percent decline.
Median sales prices in Wayne County rose to $64,900, a 44.2 percent gain. But inventory fell by 14.5 percent to 5,845, and sales dropped by 16 percent, to 1,323.
In Macomb County, the median sales price climbed to $105,000, a 30 percent jump from $80,750. Sales declined by 14 percent, to 718. Inventory fell 12.5 percent to 2,534.
In Livingston County, the median sales price hit $179,200, a 19.5 percent jump. Inventory fell to 775, a 17.6 percent drop. The 175 sales in January amounted to a 13.8 percent drop from the same period a year earlier.
Smith and other analysts noted last month’s bad weather also had an impact on the low sales.