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Housing Demand Hastens Sales

Realtor.com reports that the number of new home sellers rose in April compared to last year, when most cities had shelter-in-place orders in effect. However, with the number of new listings still nearly 26% below pre-pandemic levels, buyers saw little relief as the median U.S. home listing price moved 17.2% year-over-year to a new high of $375,000 and homes sold in just 43 days.

New listings increased 32.6% in April 2021 year-over-year, and while new listings still trail pre-pandemic levels with 130,000 (25.5%) fewer homes listed this April than the average rate in 2017 to 2019. As sales occurred at a record pace, the number of active listings was down 53% year-over-year, while total inventory, which includes pending sales, was 21.9% lower.

"After stay-at-home orders brought the housing market to a halt last spring, especially for sellers who re-thought their plans, 2021 is shaping up to be more typical," said realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "That lack of activity is causing this year's more normal trends to look like a huge improvement, and it is. However, when compared to pre-pandemic levels, it is very clear we are still not on par with the number of sellers we saw in 2017 through 2019, which is helping to drive one of the most competitive seller's markets of all time. Home prices are continuing to surge, and sales are occurring nearly three weeks faster than a normal spring home-buying season."

In terms of inventory, approximately 554,000 fewer homes were available for sale on a typical day in April this year compared to last year, and with buyer demand at an all-time high, home prices are expected to continue to reach new highs before peaking in July or August.

And with less homes available, more are rushing to lock in a home. Homes across the U.S. are selling more quickly than last year when most of the country was on lockdown. The typical home in the U.S. spent an average 43 days on the market this April, 20 days less than last year. Notably, it was 18 days less than the typical time on market in April 2017 to 2019, and faster than any time since 2012, underscoring the continuing record-setting demand for housing.

Realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Trends Report found that homes sold even faster in the 50 largest U.S. metros at 34 days on average, down from 50 in April 2020. In Denver, homes sold in an average of 15 days, while the median time on market in Columbus, Ohio, was just 16 days, and 18 days in Austin, Texas. Five of the top 50 largest markets are seeing homes sell in less than three weeks on average. Of the nation's largest markets, only New York saw time on market increase, up 13 days.

Click here for more on Realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Trends Report.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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