From Carpe Diem: In October of last year, we can see all of the essential elements of a housing recovery in markets like Houston and Austin: Rising home sales on a year-over-year basis for more than a year, rising sales volume, increasing median and average home prices, faster marketing time, multiple offers and falling inventory. In other words, that’s what a housing recovery looks like, and we’re seeing signs of that kind of housing recovery in metro areas all over the country.

Note that many of the metro areas and states reported here –Houston,San Antonio,Austin,Wisconsin(includingMilwaukee) andMaineare not included in the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which many look to exclusively for signs of a housing rebound reflected narrowly in only one metric – price.  A more comprehensive view of housing market activity looks to other measures besides price, like the ones mentioned above, which are all clearly showing signs of a housing recovery.  

 1. Houston home sales skyrocketed by 35.1% in October 2012 compared to the year before, and posted the 17th consecutive month of positive sales on a year-over-year basis.  The single-family median sales price increased 8.7% to $163,000 and the average price increased 8.3% to $223,366, the highest average home price in history for an October inHouston. Total sales volume in October was 47.2% higher than a year ago.

The inventory ofHoustonhomes for sale fell to a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, a level last seen in December 2001. Pending sales at the end of October were 24.6% higher than a year ago, and signals further gains in home sales when November home sales data are reported. 

2. Austin home sales soared by 37% in October 2012, the highest year-over-year percentage gain in three years, while the median sales price increased by 5%. Inventory ofAustin homes for sale fell to a decade-low 3.4-month supply. Local realtors report that multiple offers are becoming increasingly common. 

3. San Antonio home sales increased 19% in October 20121, while the average home price increased 7% and the median home price increased 4%. 

4. Wisconsin home sales were up by 29.4% in October 2012, and the median sales price increased by 3.5%. 

5. Chicago area home sales increased by 44.1% on a year-over-year basis to the highest level for the month of October  since 2006.  The median sales price increased by 8%. 

6. Home sales in Maine increased by nearly 25% from October 2011, while the median sales price rose by 3.3%. 

7. Minnesota home sales increased 8% in October 2012 and the median sales price increased 9.4%.

 Dr. Mark J. Perry is a full professor of economics at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in economics and finance since 1996. Starting in the fall of 2009, Perry has also held a joint appointment as a scholar at The American Enterprise Institute.  Reprinted with permission of the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC.

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