The number of existing homes listed online for sale in the largest 100 metro areas in the nation grew 60 percent from May 2005 to May 2006, according to an analysis of homes listed online at the Realtor.com property-search site.

The survey, conducted by Corzen, a real estate research firm based in New York City, found that the inventory of homes listed in these metro areas grew from 1.3 million in May 2005 to 2.3 million in May 2006.

Median list prices were up 8.4 percent from May 2005 to May 2006, while “in some parts of the country … median asking prices showed steep declines, a clear sign of softening with the real estate market,” Corzen announced today.

List prices for existing homes dropped most in Florida, California, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.-area suburbs in Virginia, Corzen also reported.

The company’s monthly survey is based on a ZIP-code-by-ZIP-code analysis of homes listed on Realtor.com. The company gathers data on every home listed for sale, including the location, the asking price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the listing broker or agent for this monthly report.

Charles Thibault, market analyst for Corzen who conducted the county-by-county analysis, said in a statement, “We do see significant decline in asking prices in certain counties, where the volume of available properties online has increased as much 400 percent.” Thibault also reported that 75 percent of the counties in the company’s sample showed no change or increases in prices, “suggesting that asking prices in overall market are not in a downward cycle … yet,” he stated.

“The sharp decline in asking prices for homes in a number of Florida counties coincides with a substantial increase in the number of homes that have been placed online with Realtor.com in the past year,” Corzen also reported. Based on the survey, the number of homes offered for sale online in some Florida counties grew as much as 400 percent between May 2005 to May 2006, while median list prices in these counties fell about 25 percent during that period.

Counties experiencing the largest increase in median prices from May 2005 to May 2006 appeared to reflect the large-scale migration that followed Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, Corzen announced. Around Baton Rouge, La., median prices were up 56 percent, while prices in Galveston, Texas, jumped 44 percent.

Corzen’s survey compiled statistics for properties in 1,655 U.S. counties.

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