An increase of property listings is opening up a seller’s market that has dominated the Coachella Valley market, housing reports show.

A short supply of homes – roughly three months’ worth – had cramped the desert over the last year. Real estate agents say a normal market has a six-month supply.

However, in September, more sellers appeared to prepare for the incoming crowd of vacation home buyers in tourist season.

“Now that the summer is over, people always wait until October,” said Kevin Stern, president of Town Real Estate in Palm Springs. “The market is getting a lot of new inventory, and it’s much more competitive.”

There were 2,355 single-family homes in the active inventory, a 7 percent year-over-year increase, according to the California Desert Association of Realtors. The Palm Desert-based organization tracks sales on its Multiple Listing Service.

Rapid appreciation has slowed significantly in the desert. Big price jumps had previously priced many buyers out the market and raised concerns about housing affordability while median household incomes remained stagnant.

The median price of all homes and condos was $255,000 in September, according to CoreLogic DataQuick, an Irvine-based real estate information services firm that compiles monthly reports from public records.

The median price increased a mere 2 percent year-over-year, a sharp difference from the double-digit growth reported early in the year.

For single-family homes, the median price didn’t just taper. The price was $371,000 in September, a 2 percent drop from the same month a year ago, according to CDAR.

“I’m starting to see some price reductions on properties that have been on the market,” Stern said. “People were overzealous, being a little aggressive.”

Andrew LePage, a CoreLogic DataQuick analyst, also said that home shoppers facing historically low interest rates will find sellers to be more realistic with pricing.

Stern is hoping for a strong season of sales. He recently opened a new office in Idyllwild for full-time desert residents needing a cooler place to stay during the hot summers.

Sharon Rogers, president of CDAR, said sales flat-lined in September and August during the slow days of summer, but she expected sales to pick up during the tourist season.

There were 646 home and condo sales in September, down 12.9 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to CoreLogic DataQuick.

In Southern California overall, existing home prices are rising at different rates. The low-end of the market had the greatest gains, increasing 10.9 percent in median price from the last year.

The high end of the market only rose 6.6 percent in median prices, according to CoreLogic DataQuick. But the number of sales greater than $500,000 rose 9 percent compared to last year, indicating that people are buying more high-end homes.

The most expensive house sold for $2.8 million in Rancho Mirage.

In second place was a $2.6 million home in the Indio and Bermuda Dunes area, followed by a $1.8 million home in Palm Springs.

Dominique Fong is a business and real estate reporter for The Desert Sun. She can be reached at (760) 778-4661, dominique.fong@desertsun.com and on Twitter @dominiquefong.

Top 5 September Sales

1. $2.8 million, Rancho Mirage

2. $2.6 million, Indio/Bermuda Dunes

3. $1.85 million, Palm Springs

4. $1.305 million, La Quinta

5. $1.3 million, Indian Wells