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Here’s a Bullish Sign for the 2012 Housing Market

We track hundreds of local housing market stats here, but one of my favorite (because you can’t find it anywhere else, and because it’s so insightful) is the Median Price of Newly Listed Properties.

It turns out that if you watch the prices of the properties that enter the market each week, you can get a real sense for the quality of the demand in a local market.

Also notable is that the spring housing market starts the second week of January. Like clockwork.

Realtors, it turns out, in aggregate are quite sensitive to where homes should be priced. They tend to price homes very close to where they’ll sell. When they’re sensing healthy demand, they price more aggressively. When they sense weakness, they’ll price lower so the property will move. They’re pretty clever, those Realtors. Here’s what they’re telling us today:

Price of Newly Listed Homes

Median price of new listings. Single Family Properties across 20 major US metro markets. Source: Altos Research

The data-point we’re looking at is at the far right side of the red line, that’s the weekly number, for January 13, 2012. Notice every 2nd week of January we get an uptick. This year is a nice strong move above the recent trendline (that’s the green). This move, while admittedly only one data point, is the very first signal of the new year.

It’s not aggressively bullish, mind you. But it implies US home price stability through the first quarter. And that’s encouraging.

Stay tuned.

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