Heightened Summer Housing Market Activity Spilling Over into Fall

Realtor.com®’s September housing data release reveals that an active summer market has officially spilled over into a typically slower fall season. Homes are sold at an increasingly fast pace when compared to last year, and prices remain at an all-time-highs into September.

Inventory continues to be constrained by stronger than normal buyer demand and little new inventory. 

  • National inventory declined by 39.0% over last year.

  • The inventory of newly listed properties declined by 13.8% nationally over the past year.

  • The September national median listing price was $350,000, up 11.1% compared to last year.

  • Nationally, the typical home spent 54 days on the market in September, 12 days less than the same time last year, and three days less than last month. This is the first time in our records that homes sold more quickly in September than August and signals an unusually active fall market. 

Inventory of Homes for Sale Continues to Hit Historic Lows, Newly Listed Homes Slow in the South


Nationally, the inventory of homes for sale decreased 39.0% over the past year in September, a faster rate of decline compared to the 36.4% drop in August. This amounted to  529,000 fewer homes for sale compared to September of last year. The count of newly listed properties in September also decreased by 13.8% since last year, a decrease from the 11.8% loss last month. With no improvement to tight inventory conditions insight, it is going to continue to be difficult for buyers to find their perfect home this fall season, while sellers who face little competition amongst each other may find selling their home easier this fall season than is typical.


Housing inventory in the 50 largest U.S. metros overall declined by 39.6% over last year in September. This decline has increased compared to the 38.1% decline in August. Among the 50 largest metros, markets in the West have the lowest decline in newly listed homes, now only down 2.4% over last year, compared to a decline of 7.3% in northeastern metros, 15.1% in midwestern metros, and 16.1% in southern metros. Last month, new inventory in the South showed more improvement than the Midwest. However, conditions reversed this month and were partially driven by market interruptions due to tropical storm and hurricane flood risks in southern states. 


The metros which saw the biggest declines in inventory include Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN (-58.5%); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA (55.6%); and Providence-Warwick, RI-MA (-53.2%). This month, none of the largest 50 metros saw an inventory increase on a year-over-year basis and 35 out of 50 saw greater inventory declines than last month. Newly listed homes decreased by 11.4% over the year in the 50 largest metros, and approximately half (24 of 50) of large metros saw the inventory of newly listed homes worsen since last month. 


Western Homes See Slight Slowing of the Pace of Sales, but Homes Across the Country Are Selling Unusually Fast

Homes for sale in September were being scooped up more quickly than last year, as buyer demand continues to spill over into the fall season. The typical home spent 54 days on the market this September, which is 12 days fewer than last year and three days fewer than last month. This is the first time homes in September sold more quickly than in August since realtor.com began tracking this data in 2016, and is extremely unusual. This activity points to a fall housing market that is more active than normal, where buyers may face more competition and may have to act more quickly than usual to snag their dream home.  


In the 50 largest U.S. metros, the typical home spent 44 days on the market, and homes spent 10 days less on the market, on average, compared to last September. Among these 50 largest metros, the time a typical property spends on the market improved most in northeastern markets, where properties now typically spend 13 fewer days on the market than last year, followed by southern markets (-11 days), midwestern markets (-9 days), and western markets (-7 days). Last month, this quickening of home sales was greater in western than midwestern markets. This month, wildfires across the western states likely contributed to a slowing of buying activity. 


Among larger metropolitan areas, homes saw the greatest decline in time spent on the market compared to last year in Hartford-East Hartford, CT (-22 days); Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (-22 days); and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (-20 days). Only the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA metro area saw time on the market increase compared to last year (+3 days). 


Double-Digit Price Growth Continues into the Fall


The median national home listing price grew by 11.1% over last year, to $350,000 in September. This is an acceleration from the 10.1% growth seen in August. The nation’s median listing price per square foot also grew by 13.9% compared to last year, an acceleration from the 11.9% growth seen last month. Listing prices in the nation’s largest metros grew by an average of 9.3% compared to last year, an increase from the 8.9% gain seen last month. Among the largest 50 metros, prices are increasing most in northeastern markets, where they are now growing at an average rate of 12.8% over last year, compared to a growth rate of 10.9% for midwestern metros, 8.7% for western metros, and 7.2% for southern metros.  


All 50 of the nation’s largest metros saw year-over-year gains in median listing prices in September, up from 49 last month. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN (+16.9%); Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH (+16.4%); and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (+15.6%) posted the highest year-over-year median list price growth in September. 


by Sabrina Speianu

Source: https://www.realtor.com/research/september-2020-data/

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