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‘Perfect Storm’ Hits Housing Market

It appears that the month of September and homebuying no longer go hand in hand. That is, based on intel from a new realtor.com report.

Under most circumstances, due to the typical availability of more homes, tamped down competition and an ease in prices, September’s the optimal time of year to invest in a home. Well, this time, the brakes have been slammed on that pattern, according to realtor.com's September Monthly Housing Trends Report.

Turns out an atypically competitive fall homebuying season--in which the usual buyers are plucking down about $20,000 more for a home and face 25% more competition than at the start of the year--has stoked a buying spree induced by COVID-19.

The best time to buy a home was the week of Sept. 22-28 last year. It that pattern was holding this year, it would have been Sept. 20-26, when the housing market typically encountered a pull back. However, listings slid 21% this year contrasted to the beginning of the year. There commonly are 17% more homes available inn September than in the dawn of the year.

"Many buyers tend to put their home search on hold after the start of the school year, but remote learning and the desire for more space continued to fuel buyer interest in September," said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist, realtor.com. "Unseasonably high buyer interest coupled with historically low inventory and favorable mortgage rates are creating a perfect storm in the housing market. While this is good news for anyone looking to sell their home, it has created tremendous competition among buyers."

In September, it took 54 days for the typical home to sell—12 days faster than the same time in 2019. Compared to last month, it was three days quicker. What’s more, in September, the typical home sold in 44 days in the 50 largest U.S. metros. That’s 10 days faster than last year. 

Today, in the Northeast, commonly, compared to last year, properties sit on the market 13 fewer days. That’s followed by the South, which is 11 days faster; the Midwest, faster by days; and the West, seven days quicker.

Meantime, compared to last year, there was an uptick in the price of homes in all 50 of the nation’s largest metros. With an average price acceleration of 12.8% over last year the Northeast is experiencing the most, followed by 10.9% in Midwestern metros, 8.6% in Western metros and 7.2% in Southern metros.

The biggest leap in year-over-year price growth were in the following metros: Cincinnati, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. (+16.9%); Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H (+16.4%); and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa-N.J.-Del.-Md. (+15.6%).

In June, Zillow reported that housing inventory was 17.1% below last year’s level and there were 3.8% fewer new listings from the prior week, reportedly.

New listings, while up 13.9% monthly, are down annually 16.6% year-over-year.

Newly pending sales grew 2.8% week-over-week and were 17.7% higher than in May. Of the 35 largest metros studied by Zillow, newly pending sales have grown the most since last month in Philadelphia (62.7%); New York (58.1%); and Miami (37.9%).

Additionally, the median list price as of June 13 is $332,680—up 2.5% year-over-year and 0.8% from the prior week.

According to Freddie Mac’s Quarterly Forecast, housing markets have been affected by the pandemic with both home sales and house price growth declining.


About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media/Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning news, among others.

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