I found this report from Trulia to be very interesting. In essence, a rise in asking price of homes by sellers does not necessarily mean that the market is in great shape. There are many other factors that contribute to a markets overall well being.
TRULIA CLASSIFIES HOUSING MARKETS IN SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, SEATTLE, DENVER, AND SALT LAKE CITY AS “BOOMING”
Rents Gains Cool Down Nationally as More Multi-Unit Buildings Are Completed
SAN FRANCISCO, February 5, 2013 – Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) today released the latest findings from the Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor, the earliest leading indicators available of trends in home prices and rents. Based on the for-sale homes and rentals listed on Trulia, these monitors take into account changes in the mix of listed homes and reflect trends in prices and rents for similar homes in similar neighborhoods through January 31, 2013.
Rising Asking Prices Signal Strong Price Recovery
Indicating the strength of the home price recovery, asking prices rose 0.3 percent quarter-over-quarter (Q-o-Q) in January without seasonal adjustment—despite the fact that prices typically fall during the wintertime. Seasonally adjusted, prices rose 2.2 percent Q-o-Q. Moreover, prices rose 0.9 percent month-over-month (M-o-M), the highest monthly gain since the price recovery began. Year-over-year (Y-o-Y), prices rose 5.9 percent; excluding foreclosures, prices rose 6.5 percent.
Healthy housing markets are defined by strong job growth, low vacancy rates, and low foreclosure inventory. In “booming” markets such as San Francisco and Seattle, rising asking prices are supported by strong job growth and are unthreatened by future foreclosures. However, investor-fueled price increases in “rebounding” markets like Phoenix and Las Vegas are at risk from slow job growth, high vacancies, or future foreclosures. At the other end of the spectrum, healthy markets without dramatic price gains, such as Houston, will continue to hum along after avoiding the worst of the housing bubble and bust. Meanwhile, markets like Chicago continue to struggle without strong market fundamentals or big price gains.
With more newly-constructed multi-unit buildings coming to completion, rent gains fell behind asking price increases at the national level for the first time since the price recovery began last spring. In January, rents rose 4.1 percent Y-o-Y nationally, slowing down from 4.7 percent in July 2012. Regionally, rent gains cooled the most in San Francisco, where rents rose only 2.4 percent versus 11.5 percent in July 2012. According to the Census, construction activity in San Francisco has been well above normal for the last year, and it’s nearly all in multi-unit buildings.