The Housing Market Inventory Shrinks While Home Prices Climb

The housing market inventory shrinks while prices climb is the ongoing real estate story around the country. recently looked at the numbers on listings, sales prices, and Days on Market. According to “nearly 400,000 fewer homes have been listed compared to last year, leaving a gaping hole in the U.S. housing inventory. As a result, home prices are accelerating at double last year’s pace while homes sell 12 days faster than last year, on average.”

“In a normal year as you reach October that line of buyers has eased. These are not normal times and we are continuing to see that line of buyers increase while some sellers are reluctant to list their properties,” notes’s Director of Economic Research Javier Vivas. “Selling your home and moving in a pandemic is impacting sellers from listing their homes,” Vivas adds.

Historically low mortgage rates combined with the growing trend of working remotely has created the perfect storm propelling buyers to engage in bidding wars and make above asking price offers. Here are some stats and facts from that tell the story. Homes on the market lag far behind last year’s available inventory. “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.”

Buyers consider the following when you are trying to make competitive offers that get you that dream home. For the week ending September 19, year-over year homes on the market fell 39 %. Thanks to this significant inventory decline median listing prices for that week increased 11 % from last year. It’s worth noting that is more than double January 2020’s price appreciation. “The historically low mortgage rates have buyers lining up who are willing to circumvent obstacles better than sellers can,” Vivas said.

Here’s a look at various markets around the country with inventory constraints. The popular Boston metro area had an increase of 15.4 % in median listing prices. Total listings declined by 34.6 % while homes sold 17 days faster year over year. Now that’s a hot market. In the desirable close-in suburb of Brookline known for its highly rated school system, a 1,534 square feet 2-bedroom 2-bath condo on a main street is currently listed for $1,450,000. Since this is new construction in a “landmark” building it probably won’t linger on the market.

Pittsburgh still considered an affordable market continues to become more desirable. Median listing year-over-year prices were up 23% while listings were down 35.7%. Buyers moved fast resulting in listings selling 10 days faster than last year. Carrie Holverson and her husband Harry retried to Pittsburgh four years ago from California. They purchased a condominium in downtown. “I’m so glad we bought when we did. I love seeing Pittsburgh come alive,” Holverson said. “Our daughter moved here recently. She’s looking to buy her first home which she never even entertained buying in Northern California. She can get a nice home here for $200,000 or less,” Holverson adds.

An updated brick townhouse in Pittsburgh now has a contingent offer after only three days on the market. The listing price is $229,500 for this 1,206 square foot home.

As the pandemic continues and mortgage rates stay low look for more buyers and fewer sellers as we move into the fourth quarter.

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