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Houses Selling Like Hotcakes Here And There

(Photo credit: Thinkstock)

(Photo credit: Thinkstock)

In some metropolitan areas, ‘For Sale’ signs blooming on front lawns this April were pulled up more quickly than unsightly weeds. In faster-moving markets, homes are changing their status this spring in record time. For those who might not have heard, the U.S. housing market recovery is well underway. In Denver and Oakland, the National Association of Realtors indicates that less than 30 days is the median listing time prior to sale. The national average is 102 days.

Spring motion

Both Trulia and the National Association of Realtors have released information regarding the fastest- and slowest-moving metros in order to scratch beneath the surface of the national trend. According to Trulia trends report by Chief Economist Dr. Jed Kolko, homes for sale across all three price tier categories are selling ahead of the pace set 12 months earlier, despite most having heftier price tags than in 2013. Kolko points out that by tracking both the number of days a property is listed and the fluctuations of inventory available in that location, we get the most accurate data. The resulting snapshot of the nation’s largest 100 metros shows that the median number of days a property is on the market is shortening and that lower-priced homes are currently the quickest to sell.

Fastest-moving markets

During this two-month period in the San Francisco Bay Area from Oakland to San Jose, fewer than one-third of homes put on the market were still for sale after the initial 60 days. Elsewhere in California, pockets centered around Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County saw more than half of the new listings fly out the door in 60 days or less. Rounding out the top 10 fastest-selling markets are Denver, Seattle and Middlesex County, adjacent to Boston.

Slowest-moving real estate

By contrast, homes for sale in the 10 slowest-moving markets saw two-thirds or more still for sale after being listed for at least 60 days. The metros are led by Northeast locations such as Hartford and New Haven in Connecticut, Albany and Long Island in New York and Springfield, Massachusetts. To the south, slow markets are Richmond, Virginia; Knoxville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Greenville and Columbia in South Carolina.

Spring takeaway

Any suggestion of a question mark on housing market recovery has been replaced by an exclamation point. Calling the recovery “robust,” Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries says that some home values are reaching new highs and that we’ve now put the sluggish housing market in the rearview mirror. If you’re selling, be ready to pack up without delay. If you’re buying and your dream home — or even close to dreamy home — comes along, decision time cannot wait.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.