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Home Sales Saw Largest Monthly Decline Since Pandemic Onset

Ongoing lack of housing inventory hampered the market in December, driving seasonal home sales down 3.6%, according to a new report from Redfin. This marks the largest month-over-month sales decline since May 2020. Home prices surged 15% from a year earlier, the 17th consecutive month of double-digit increases. 

“Home sales are slumping, but not for lack of demand,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “There are plenty of homebuyers on the hunt, but there is just nothing for sale. In many markets, shopping for a home feels like going to the grocery store only to find the shelves bare. In January, I expect to see more buyers and sellers in the market, but demand will increase more than supplypushing prices higher at the start of this year.” 

Median sale prices increased from a year earlier in all but one of the 88 largest metro areas Redfin tracks. The only metro area with a decrease was Bridgeport, Connecticut, where home prices fell 0.4% from a year earlier following a 28% year-over-year increase in December 2020.  

The largest price increases were in:  

  • Austin (+30%) 
  • North Port, Florida (+28%) 
  • Phoenix (+28%) 

Seasonally adjusted home sales in December were down 3.6% from a month earlier and 11% from a year earlier, the largest annual decline since June 2020. Home sales fell from the prior year in 79 of the 88 largest metro areas Redfin tracks.  

The biggest sales declines were seen in:  

  • Nassau County, New York (-22%) 
  • New Brunswick, New Jersey (-22%) 
  • Albany, New York (-21%) 

The largest gains were in: 

  • Greenville, South Carolina (+9%) 
  • Greensboro, North Carolina (+8%) 
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana (+7%) 

“The wild housing market did not take a break for the holidays,” said Brionna Chang, a Redfin agent in the San Francisco area. “There was one two-bedroom home in Orinda that was listed just before Christmas and around 40 people immediately came to the open houses. It ended up getting multiple offers and going for $325,000 over the $1.2 million asking price.” 

Only one of the 88 largest metros tracked by Redfin (Detroit) posted a year-over-year increase in the number of seasonally adjusted active listings of homes for sale. The biggest year-over-year declines in active housing supply in December were in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and in San Jose and San Francisco, California. 

Seasonally adjusted new listings of homes for sale were down 13% in December from a year earlier, the largest decline since May 2020. New listings fell from a year ago in 82 of the 88 largest metro areas. 

The typical home that sold in December went under contract in 24 days—a week faster than a year earlier, when homes sold in a median 31 days, but up nine days from the record low of 15 days in June. 

As 43% of homes sold above list price in December, they were down 14 percentage points from their record high in June, but up 9 percentage points from a year earlier. The average sale-to-list price ratio in December was 100.5%, down from a record high of 102.6% in June but up from 99.4% a year earlier. 

To read the full report, including charts and additional metro-level highlights, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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