Still a Rapidly Moving Sellers' Market in Housing

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Despite the recent slowdown in housing, homes are still being snapped up at a faster pace than a year earlier.

Homes listed on real estate marketplace Zillow sold a month faster than a year earlier, with the median time spent on the market declining to 86 days in September, down from 116 days in September 2012.

It has been a sellers' market in most parts of the country, but nowhere more so than in California. Homes spent as little as 48 days in the San Francisco Bay Area and 59 days in Sacramento, Calif.

Homes moved fastest in Las Vegas, Sacramento and San Antonio.

The data from the National Association of Realtors shows an even tighter market. The median time on the market for existing homes was 50 days in September, down from 70 days a year earlier. Thirty nine percent of the homes sold in less than a month.

Still, the inventory situation is slowly improving, with the time on the market improving from 43 days a month earlier.

"The declining inventory of for-sale homes over the past year naturally creates pressure for buyers to more quickly snap up the inventory that is on the market," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. "Home shoppers in today's environment need to be prepared to move quickly, with pre-approvals in place and an established sense of what they're willing to pay for a home. But even though things are moving fast, buyers should resist the urge to enter into bidding wars or pay prices they're uncomfortable with. We do expect that this need for speed will abate in the near-term as mortgage rates rise and more inventory becomes available because of new construction and declining negative equity."

-- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.

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