Editor’s note: This report is based on Realtor.com’s September 2012 Real Estate Trend Data Report. The report covers 146 U.S. metros, and includes single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops.

The number of homes for sale nationwide continued to fall in September from a year ago, Realtor.com reported today. The 17.77 percent drop to 1.8 million units continues a trend that’s played out in every month this year so far.

For-sale inventory dropped on a year-over-year basis in all but three of the 146 markets tracked by Realtor.com in its report.

Nationwide, median list prices were up 0.78 percent from August to September, to $191,500 and have held steady throughout 2012 — another sign that the housing recovery is solidifying, the report noted. However, median list prices are still 23.37 percent off their early 2007 high of $249,900.

Annual change in listings, inventory and median list price

Data point Percent change from year ago 2012 September 2012
Number of listings -17.77% 1.80 million
Median age of inventory (days) -11.21% 95
Median list price +0.78% $191,500

Source: Realtor.com

The number of homes for sale nationwide was down 40 percent from a September 2007 high of 3.1 million units. The median age of inventory was also down 11.21 percent on a yearly basis to 95 days. However, that number represents a 4.4 percent increase from August.

Source: Realtor.com

As was the case last in August, California markets continue to dominate a top 10 chart of markets that have experienced the largest year-over-year drop in inventory. Tight inventories and lending standards are two of the California housing market’s biggest challenges to full recovery, said Leslie Appleton-Young, California Association of Realtor’s vice president and chief economist.

Stockton-Lodi, Calif., topped the chart with a 63.04 percent drop in inventory between September 2011 and September 2012. Sacramento, Oakland, and Riverside-San Bernardino (Calif.) rounded out the top four, in order, with drops in inventory of 60.26 percent, 57.14 percent and 42.57 percent, respectively.

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett (No. 9 at a 38.34 percent drop) and Atlanta (No. 10 at a 37.15 percent drop) were the only two metros on the list not in California.

Top 10 markets for annual inventory declines, September 2012

Percent change
Stockton-Lodi, Calif.
Sacramento, Calif.
Oakland, Calif.
Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.
San Jose, Calif.
Fresno, Calif.
Bakersfield, Calif.
San Francisco
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.

Source: Realtor.com

California metros also made up the majority of the top 10 metros experiencing the largest year-over-year percentage median list price increases. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif., topped the list at a year-over-year jump of 32.05 percent in its median list price. San Francisco (No. 3), San Jose (No. 4), Sacramento (No. 6), Oakland (No. 7), and Riverside-San Bernardino (No. 9) were the other Golden State metros on the list.

Source: Realtor.com

Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz. (No. 2 at 26.66 percent), Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (No. 5 at 14.98 percent), Boise City, Idaho (No. 7 at 13.33 percent) and Atlanta (No. 10 at 11.94 percent) were the non-California metros on the top list for the largest year-over-year median list price increase.

Top 10 metros for annual median list price increases, September 2012

Percent change
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.
Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
San Francisco
San Jose, Calif.
Boise City, Idaho
Oakland, Calif.
Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla.
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.
Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla.

Source: Realtor.com

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