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Realtor.com Weekly Housing Report: Nearly 400,000 Fewer Homes Have Been Listed Since the Start of the Pandemic

September 24 2020

Overall market strength shows slight improvement over last week due to the containment of natural disasters

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 24, 2020 -- Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in March, nearly 400,000 fewer homes have been listed compared to last year, leaving a gaping hole in the U.S. housing inventory, according to realtor.com's Weekly Housing Report for the week ending Sept. 19. As a result, home prices are accelerating at double last year's pace while homes sell 12 days faster than last year, on average.

"Sellers are more reluctant to list their home given the uncertainty over the economy and the pandemic environment. Buyers on the other hand, especially hungry first timers, remain largely unfazed by the challenges, and are motivated by low mortgage rates and the fear of missing out on the right home," said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®. "The majority of sellers are also buyers, so even as new listings hit the market, another buyer is also added. Adding to the inventory issues, thousands of previously vacant homes, such as second homes and rentals, have been reoccupied by their owners during the pandemic, effectively taking them off the market."

Number of homes on the market remains woefully behind last year

  • Since mid-March (the beginning of the COVID pandemic), a total of 2.91 million unique properties have been put on the market for sale. This is approximately 390,000 fewer homes than the 3.30 million listed during the same period last year.
  • As of this week, the number of homes on the market is down 39% compared to last year. With the typical seasonal slowdown approaching, relief in terms of more available homes for sale is unlikely.
  • The number of new listings hitting the market this week was down 15% compared to last year, a slight improvement over last week's decline of 17%. The slight uptick was likely a result of having a full work week compared to the short holiday week (Labor Day), as well as better containment of wildfires on the West Coast.

Home prices continued to see record breaking growth

  • Median listing prices continued to grow at last week's record breaking pace of 11.1% year-over-year. This is more than double January 2020's price acceleration and the 19th week in a row of price acceleration.

Homes are selling even faster than last week

  • Homes are selling in 53 days, which is 12 days faster on average than this time last year, and one day faster than last week. The rapid turnover is fueling home sales, and keeping the market from stalling. With buyer demand showing no signs of cooling, homes are expected to continue flying off the market, despite a depleted supply.

Housing market strengthens after last week's disasters

  • Realtor.com® tracks the overall strength of the housing market through its proprietary Housing Market Recovery Index, which compares real-time key indicators including trends in number of searches on realtor.com®, median listing prices, the number of newly listed homes, and the time it takes to sell to January 2020, prior to the pandemic.
  • This week, the index was 107.2 points, 1.0 point stronger than last week and 7.2 points stronger than it was pre-COVID. The slight improvement over last week can be attributed to the containment of fire and hurricane damage, which had weakened levels of supply.

 

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®.