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The housing market finished out the year with a slight blip up. Between November and December, the median resale price per square foot, while down .2 percent for condos, was up .5 percent for single family homes (the more reliable data point of the two) and up .3 percent overall.
The change in the median price per square foot over the course of 2011 was as follows: down 5.2 percent for single family homes, down 2.3 percent for condos, and down 4.4 percent for a volume-weighted aggregate of the two property types.
Closed home sales rose for the month, as is typical of December, ending 3.8 percent above their December 2010 level:
Pending sales were down, which is also typical of December, but they remained 8.2 percent higher than a year ago:
Inventory continued its decline, ending down 15.9 percent for the year:
Months of inventory rose slightly for the month. However, it finished the year a whopping 22.2% down from December 2010.
The months of inventory figure is important because it compares supply versus demand, and has a pretty good track record of predicting price changes. So we enter the year 2012 with a more positive supply and demand situation — and thus a brighter short-term outlook for prices — than we had at the start of 2011.
Rich Toscano is a financial advisor with Pacific Capital Associates*. He can be contacted at email@example.com.