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

For-sale inventory hovered near a five-year low, but median list prices slipped in October back to the same level as a year ago, Realtor.com reported today.

Inventory stood at 1.76 million units at the end of last month, down 17 percent from a year ago and 40 percent below a September 2007 peak of 3.1 million.

Despite the scarcity of listings, median list prices slipped 0.83 percent from September to October, to $189,900 on average — the third straight month-to-month decline.

Median age of inventory at 97 days was down 11.81 percent from a year ago, but demand still seemed to be slipping.

"The recent erosion in the median list price may foreshadow a dampening of recent increases in housing prices," Realtor.com noted.

Annual change in listings, inventory and median list price

Data point Percent changefrom year ago 2012 October 2012
Number of listings -17.00% 1.76 million
Median age of inventory (days) -11.81% 97
Median list price 0.00% $189,900

Source: Realtor.com

Of the 146 metros Realtor.com tracks, 71 posted annual gains in list price, 31 remained steady, and 44 showed declines.

Source: Realtor.com

California was home to seven of the top 10 metros that saw the largest year-over-year list price increases in October, with Sacramento and Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc topping the list.

Top 10 markets for annual list price increases, October 2012

Percent change
Sacramento, Calif.
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.
Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
San Jose, Calif.
Oakland, Calif.
San Francisco
Fresno, Calif.
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.
Las Vegas

Source: Realtor.com

California metros top the list of year-over-year inventory reductions, as well, with eight making up the top 10. The Stockton-Lodi metro topping the list at a 64.95 percent reduction in for-sale inventory in October, followed by Sacramento (-63.06 percent), Oakland (-58.66 percent), San Jose (-43.93 percent) and Riverside-San Bernardino (-41.98 percent).

Top 10 metros for annual inventory decreases

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

Source: Realtor.com

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