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Realtor.com Weekly Recovery Report: Record Breaking Traffic Signals Summer Buying Season is Here

July 13 2020

But buyers continue to face significant headwinds of record-low inventory

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 9, 2020 -- Summer home buying season is off to a roaring start. As buyers flooded into the market, realtor.com monthly traffic hit an all-time high of 86 million unique users in June 2020, breaking May's record of 85 million unique users. Realtor.com® daily traffic also hit its highest level ever of 7 million unique users on June 25, signaling that despite the global pandemic buyers are ready to make a purchase.

The realtor.com® Housing Market Recovery Index reached 97.8 nationwide for the week ending July 4, posting the largest weekly increase since the index was introduced. The week's 2.1 point increase over the prior week brings the index just 2.2 points below the pre-COVID baseline. However, supply remains the biggest factor slowing the recovery; total listings remain 31 percent lower than last year and more listings will need to enter the market for sustained improvement in home sales.

"The consistent, record-level homebuyer interest we've detected on realtor.com® over the last five weeks is setting up the tightest summer homebuying season on record," said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®. "All-time low mortgage rates and easing job losses have boosted buyer confidence back to pre-pandemic levels. With supply at record lows , the backlog of demand portends increased competition and a seller's market in the weeks ahead. While buyers are back, growth in home sales this summer will be constrained by the slow return of sellers and the limited amount of homes hitting the market.

Key Findings:

  • Local Recovery: Regionally, the West (index 104.4) continues to lead the recovery with the overall index now visibly above the pre-COVID benchmark. The Northeast (index 102.1) also surpassed the recovery baseline last week, and continues to improve. The South (index 96.4) and Midwest (index 95.4) are still lagging but are now back on a steady recovery path. Locally, an additional two markets have crossed the recovery benchmark this week, taking the total number of markets above the January baseline to 14, the highest since the early pandemic period. The overall recovery index is showing greatest recovery in Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, with growth in demand and the pace of sales surpassing pre-COVID benchmarks.
  • Total inventory was down 31 percent. The number of homes for sale dropped over last week again even though new listings are improving. More home buyers are taking advantage of low mortgage rates and putting a dent in inventory.
  • New listings are down 4 percent. Fourth of July celebrations falling on a weekend as opposed to midweek boosted the natural pace of new listings. However, we expect the improvement to return to last week's level next week. More sellers will need to enter the market to see sustained improvement during this summer.
  • Median listing prices continue growing at 6.2 percent over last year, faster than the pre-COVID pace.
  • Time on market is now just three days slower than last year as the still-limited number of homes for sale forces buyers to make faster decisions than in the early pandemic period. The market is picking up speed given the surge in buyers but still limited in home sellers.

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Realtor.com® Recovery Index by Metro

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Methodology: The Weekly Housing Index leverages a weighted average of realtor.com® search traffic, median list prices, new listings, and median time on market and compares it to the January 2020 market trend, as a baseline for pre-COVID market growth. The overall index is set to 100 in this baseline period. The higher a market's index value, the higher its recovery and vice versa.

About realtor.com®

Realtor.com® makes buying, selling and living in homes easier and more rewarding for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today through its website and mobile apps is a trusted source for the information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Using proprietary data science and machine learning technology, realtor.com® pairs buyers and sellers with local agents in their market, helping take the guesswork out of buying and selling a home. For professionals, realtor.com® is a trusted provider of consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today's on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.com.