We at SFhotlist are just loving lists lately (and alliteration, too!). We have two for you today – where to buy and where to sell in 2013. The Realtor.com Real Estate Trends Report for January 2013 reveals the Top 5 Best Places to Buy and Sell a home in 2013. You get one chance to guess – which of the two lists is San Francisco on? (Spoiler alert: San Francisco isn’t on the top of the list but a nearby Northern California city is.)

How did they decide if a city was a good place in which to sell or a good place in which to buy ?  By looking at the numbers. A few factors were examined, such as list prices (median list prices), total number of listings (inventory) and how long listings are staying on the market (median age of inventory).  For the raw data on which the Trends Report is based, take a look at the January 2013 Real Estate Data – good stuff.

According to the report, “With two months remaining before the home-buying season opens, sellers have a huge advantage. In tight markets, such as the top five “Best Places to Sell,” sellers benefit from better prices than they’ve seen in years. In our five “Best Places to Buy,” buyers will find plentiful inventory and prices that haven’t experienced the increases others have seen during the past year.”

National Key Housing Market Indicators - January 2013

And Realtor.com says…

Top 5 Best Places to Buy in 2013
  • Asheville, N.C. Real estate’s a good deal in western North Carolina, where you can enjoy the Smokies and the Blue Ridge mountains for less today than in 2012. Prices are down 0.40 percent year-over-year, and listings are lingering on market for a median 149 days, making Asheville one of the slowest-selling markets in the nation. There are slightly fewer homes on the market than last year, but inventory is certain to grow with the onset of the home-buying season.
  • Peoria-Pekin, IL. The Peoria market leads the nation in price declines. With unemployment at 8.3 percent,the region’s largest employer-initiated temporary layoffs in the wake of disappointing Q3 2012 global sales – in response – seller confidence faltered, sending list prices and inventory into decline. With median price 14.22 percent lower than this time in 2012, it’s a good time to buy in Peoria.
  • Charleston, WV. Charleston is one of the few markets with a recipe for buyer success — more homes are listed today than a year ago, and they cost less. Inventories are up 1.03 percent compared with January 2012, and prices decreased 9.61 percent. Typically a very stable market, Charleston didn’t experience either the housing boom of 2001-2006 or the bust that followed it.
  • Philadelphia (NJ). Even though inventories have fallen 4.85 percent in the past year, Philadelphia still has too many homes for sale. Prices are still soft, having lowered 5.31 percent year-over-year and 1.42 percent from December to January, which likely marks a seasonal decline. Listings are selling in 142 days. A good spring season with buyers ready to take advantage of some of the best prices in major metropolitan areas on the East Coast could quickly fix Philadelphia’s inventory overhang and position the market for the best year since the crash.
  • Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, OH.  List prices have fallen 6.98 percent in Cleveland during the past 12 months. Inventories are also down 16.36 percent year-over-year, leaving buyers with the prospect of fewer properties to consider this spring, but some great bargains. Listings are spending 120 days in inventory, which is less than a year ago but still more than the national median, which suggests that demand is lighter in the Cleveland market and inventory is greater than elsewhere — both good signs for buyers.
Top 5 Best Places to Sell in 2013
  • Sacramento, CA. In recent months, Sacramento has experienced dramatic declines in inventory levels, reporting 67.20 percent fewer homes for sale in January than a year ago. Record low inventories have led to a 40.20 percent increase in median prices, yet demand is strong, with properties spending less than a month on the market. Sellers here can anticipate quick sales and primo prices.
  • San Jose, CA.  Ranking fourth in the nation in terms of tight inventory, supply clearly is not keeping up with demand in Silicon Valley. Prices are up nearly 25 percent compared with this time in 2012 and still climbing, but not as quickly as in Sacramento. The region’s strong economy is driving up both rents and home prices.
  • San Francisco, CA. Prices have risen dramatically, inventories are down drastically and properties are selling in less than two months. The inventory shortage created a powerful sellers’ market where list prices rose more than 20 percent in the past year, a sure sign that sellers can anticipate a profitable spring season.
  • Phoenix-Mesa, AZ.  Once the hottest market for foreclosures, Phoenix alternately became a hub for price increases in 2012. List prices have increased 23.59 percent since January 2012, and inventories decreased 15.88 percent since a year ago. In recent months, price and supply fluctuations have stabilized, so buyers should be able to find affordable properties if sellers take advantage of the improving price picture and list their homes this year, increasing supply.
  • Washington, DC. List prices have improved a respectable 16.33 percent in the D.C. market during the past 12 months, and one reason is a 30.77 percent decrease in inventory. With a median price of $429,900, D.C. is one of the nation’s priciest markets, and if inventories don’t grow substantially between now and cherry blossom season in March and April, prices will continue to rise. For locals thinking about selling, this looks to be one of the best markets in years.
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