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January 08 2021

Buyers and sellers remained active throughout holiday season, draining inventory while driving price growth and quick sales

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 7, 2021 -- The number of homes for sale in the U.S. reached an all-time low in December, dipping below 700,000 for the first time as buyers remained active throughout the holiday season, according to's Monthly Housing Trends Report released today. Due to unusually strong demand, home prices were up double digits compared to last year, however, the median listing price came down to $340,000 from a summer high of $350,000.

"The shortage of homes for sale has been an ongoing issue for the last couple of years, but in December the combination of the holiday inventory slowdown and the pandemic buying trend caused it to dip to its lowest level in history," said® Chief Economist, Danielle Hale. "Looking forward, we could see new lows in the next couple of months as buyers remain relatively active, but a surge of new COVID cases may slow the number of sellers entering the market. Newly listed properties have shown mixed trends. While December's data points to possible relief on the horizon, this figure has been impacted the most in areas with large COVID surges, and consistent improvement will be key in order to get out of this extreme shortage. We eventually expect to see improvements in the supply of homes for sale, especially in the second half of the year. Until then, finding a home will continue to be a top challenge for buyers across all price ranges."

The number of homes for sale reached a historic low as buyer demand remained strong

  • Nationally, the number of homes for sale was down 39.6%, amounting to 449,000 fewer homes for sale than last December.
  • Newly listed homes were only down 0.8% compared to last year, a substantial improvement from November when new listings were down 8.7%. Western (+30.8%) and Northeastern larger markets (+15.0%) are seeing the strongest improvements with more new listings hitting the market, while the Midwest (+0.2%) and South (-4.0%) lagged behind.
  • The West's surge in newly listed homes is primarily attributed to San Jose, Calif. (+123.8%) and San Francisco (+98.9%), which saw far more new listings this December compared to 2019.
  • The metros with the largest declines in new listings compared to last year included:
    • Nashville, Tenn. (-19.9%);
    • Memphis, Tenn. (-18.5%); and
    • Charlotte, N.C. (-16.0%).

Home prices continued to grow at double-digits

  • The median listing price grew 13.4% year-over-year, to $340,000 in December. This is a slight step back from its peak of $350,000.
  • While prices increased nationwide, the largest gains were seen in the Northeast (+12.2%), followed by the West (+10.4%), Midwest (+8.6%) and South (+6.7%).
  • Within the nation's 50 largest metros, prices increased by 8.8%, nearly the same as last month.
  • The metros which had the largest gains in prices included:
    • Austin, Texas (+20.0%),
    • Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif (+17.2%), and
    • New Orleans (+16.8%).
  • Minneapolis (-1.6%) was the only metro to see price declines.

Homes continued to sell rapidly during holiday season

  • Homes sold in 66 days on average in December, which is 13 days faster than last year.
  • Within the nation's 50 largest metros, homes sold even faster, spending only 56 days on average on market.
  • The metros where homes sold the fastest compared to last year included:
    • Virginia Beach, Va. (-28 days);
    • Hartford, Conn. (-23 days); and
    • Louisville, Ky. (-23 days).
  • The four metros where homes sold more slowly compared to last included:
    • San Diego (+6 days);
    • Miami (+5 days);
    • Buffalo, N.Y. (+3 days); and
    • New York (+2 days).

Metros With the Largest Increase in New Listings


*Some data for Pittsburgh has been excluded due to data quality.

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