SEATTLE and Denver—Technology -powered real estate broker Redfin has released its Real-Time Home Price Tracker for February, showing home prices increasing 13.2 percent year over year across 19 major U.S. markets. Meanwhile, Re/max released its February RE/MAX National Housing Report showing sales 2.3 percent greater than February 2012 and a median price 7.0% higher. 

Inventories continue to tighten, both sources noted. Redfin had inventory falling 1.8 percent from February 2012. Redfin tracks 19 major markets for its report, while Re/Max looks at 52.

As home prices recover in 2013, more homeowners will achieve positive equity and the number of foreclosures should be reduced, Re/Max says.  The current recovery has not yet brought housing back to pre-crisis levels, but appears on its way to a more stable and sustainable environment. 

Home-selling velocity was on the rise with more than one-third of homes going under contract within 14 days of their debut. Here are the key metrics from Redfin:

 

Home prices up:

    –  Home prices were up 13% from a year ago and 2.4% month over month.
Home sales on the rise:

    –  Closed sales were up 2.3% from February 2012 and 0.7% from January.
Home-selling velocity increasing:

    –  More than one-third of new listings are now going under contract within
        14 days of their debut. Last month, 30.3% of homes sold that quickly.
        Redfin recently published a list of the country’s fastest real estate
        markets, highlighting “real estate flash sales,” homes that went under
        contract in 24 hours or less.
Inventory mixed:

    –  Inventory fell 32% from last year, but picked up slightly (1.1 %) from
        January.
This report is the earliest monthly analysis of home prices, sales and inventory across 19 U.S. markets, published weeks before any other index, based on the local databases used directly by Realtors to list properties and record sales. Click the following link to read the complete Redfin Real-Time Home Price Tracker. http://blog.redfin.com/?p=12800 

Market-Specific Highlights and Lowlights:

Sales Volumes

    –  Denver saw the biggest gains, with home sales up 33.4% from February
        2012.
    –  Baltimore’s sales volumes took the hardest hit with a 13.4% drop from a
        year earlier.
Home Prices

    –  Each of the 19 cities measured saw home prices rise year over year; 15
        saw month-over-month home price increases.
    –  Phoenix once again led the price gains with a 30.3% year-over-year
        increase.
Inventory

    –  Inventory came in at just over 158,000 total listings across the 19
        metro areas studied.
    –  The top seven markets with the largest year-over-year drop in inventory
        were all in California: Sacramento (-68.3%), San Francisco (57.8%), Los
        Angeles (-57.1%), Ventura (56.9%), Inland Empire (-54.0%), San Jose
        (-53.0%), and San Diego (-50.1%).
    –  The only market with an increase in homes for sale was Phoenix which saw
        a 2.2% rise in inventory year over year.
Selling Velocity

    –  The top six fastest-selling markets (% of homes selling in two weeks or
        less) were all in California: San Jose (63.1%), San Francisco (56.8%),
        Ventura (52.6%), Los Angeles (51.3%), Inland Empire (49.8%), and San
        Diego (49.1%).
    –  The slowest-selling market was Boston, with only 3.7% of homes selling
        in 14 days or less.
About the Real-Time Home Price Tracker

As a broker with access to dozens of Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) used by real estate agents to list properties and record sales, Redfin gets data within minutes of a sale, pending sale or listing activation, well before any government, media or analytics organization. Using MLS fields, Redfin is able to distinguish houses from condominiums and townhouses, which often sell for less money. To validate the accuracy of the data and to account for sales not handled by a real estate agent, Redfin compares MLS data with county records as they become available, using sophisticated algorithms to identify and resolve disparities about square footage or price for each address.