The State of the Real Estate Market

January 2014: No Surprises, Market Follows Seasonal Trends

Feb 3, 2014 at 6:05PM

According to Movoto Real Estate's State of the Market report, the market followed seasonal trends on a month-over-month basis, as the number of available homes on the market and the median list price per square foot index dipped when compared to November. At the same time, our data shows that year-over-year changes in the median list price per square foot and inventory level indexes are similar to previous years' numbers.

How This Report Is Made

In building Movoto Real Estate's monthly State of the Real Estate Market report, we look at 38 geographically diverse cities in order to determine total inventory levels and median price per square foot index. In addition, we further break down this data on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. The data used comes from each city's Multiple Listing Service.

Median List Price Per Square Foot Index


During the 12-month period between December 2012 and December 2013, there were 33 cities in which the median list price per square foot increased. Of the cities that had increases, 17 witnessed double-digit gains.

In total, across the cities we track, the median list price per square foot index increased from $159 in December 2012 to $176 in December 2013, a gain of 10.4 percent.

The cities that saw the largest gains by percentage were:

  • Boston: The value for a home in Boston increased by about 27 percent in the past year, going from $361 in December 2012 to $458 in December 2013.
  • Sacramento: The median list price per square foot for a home inSacramento increased by about 21 percent in the past 12 months. The price rose from $123 in December 2012 to $149 in December 2013.
  • Phoenix: Phoenix home prices increased by about 20 percent in the past year. The median list price per square foot increased from $101 to $121 from December 2012 to December 2013.

In general, the list price per square foot for homes increased by double digit percentage points during 2013; however, the rate at which homes gained value slowed starting in June. The 12-month period between December 2012 and December 2013 saw one of the smallest gains of the year.

Still, not all cities witnessed such large gains. Colorado Springs saw a 7 percent decrease in its median list price per square foot index. Homes in the area sold for $115 per square foot in 2012. Twelve months later, homes sold for $107 per square foot.



From November to December 2013, the median list price per square foot dropped by $3, going from $179 to $176. This is in line with real estate trends. Typically, home prices remain flat or decline between November and December. In 2012, the median list price per square foot dropped from $161 to $159 from November to December, while in 2011 the price remained flat at $147.

Under normal market conditions, home prices decrease in the colder months, as there are fewer home buyers.

Inventory Index


Across the cities we cover, the total number of available homes increased from 92,735 in December 2012 to 96,495 in December 2013–about 4 percent. Twenty of the 38 cities we track had an increase in inventory. Cities that saw the greatest increase in inventory on a year-over-year basis were:

  • Sacramento: Potential home buyers in Sacramento have about 92 percent more homes to chose from than they did a year ago. During the 12-month period, Sacramento's inventory increased from 727 to 1,393.
  • Las Vegas: The number of available homes in Las Vegas increased by about 83 percent in the past 12 months. In December 2012, there were 3,368 homes on the market, while there were 6,178 at the end of last month. This is an increase of about 83 percent.
  • San Diego: While not as significant as Sacramento or Las Vegas, America's Finest City did have a large number of homes come onto the market. During the 12-month period, the number of homes on the market increased by about 57 percent, going from 1,192 to 1,873.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a number of cities saw a decrease in inventory. The cities which had the greatest decrease in available homes were:

  • Houston: The number of available homes decreased by about 19 percent, going from 6,861 to 5,556.
  • Boston: Inventory in Boston dropped by about 18 percent from December 2012 to December 2013. In 2012 there were 677 homes for sale; this figured dropped to 544 a year later.
  • San Francisco: In December there were 278 homes on the market, down from 336 a year prior. This is about a 17 percent decrease.



From November to December 2013, the number of available homes dipped from 105,291 in November to 96,495 in December, a decline of about 8.4 percent. This decrease in inventory follows normal seasonal trends. In 2012, the number of available homes decreased by about 8 percent between November and December, dropping from 100,757 homes to 92,735 homes, and in 2011 the decline was slightly more than 7 percent, dropping from 142,877 homes to 132,672 homes.

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