This December showed a slight improvement over December 2002, however, as with the previous months of 2003 statistics were inconsistent. Over 500 more housing units were sold in December 2003, over December 2002, but the total available inventory increased by 1,000 units. The absorption rate decreased by 3 weeks, while the days on market increased by 12.5 days. The average market price went up $7,900 from last December to this December, and the median price increased 2%. All of these statistics signify a market swimming in circles, which is better than it could be. As new home builders continue to decrease new home starts (40% less in 2003 than 2001), the amount of properties available for an economic recovery will lesson. The highest number of homes sold in any price range remained $200,000-$250,000, reflecting low interest rates serving the needs of first time buyers.

Nationally, the housing picture remains bright. At the end of the 3rd quarter, seasonally adjusted sales were 12.8% ahead of 2002, with 6.3 million sales possible when the year end reporting is complete. The supply of available housing (absorption rate) is less than 15 weeks and has been close to that level all year while the local supply has been 22 to 30 weeks during 2003.
submitted by Larry McGee
http://www.theberkshiregroup.com