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Housing Market Speed Slows, Still Historically High

The housing market experienced another downshift in July, with the number of homes under contract within two weeks falling to under 30 percent.

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According to ""Redfin's"":http://www.redfin.com/ Real-Time Fastest Markets Report, 29.2 percent of homes in 23 markets across the country were under contract within 14 days of listing, down from 30 percent in June and 32 percent in April.

""After pushing their limits for several months, buyers are starting to overheat,"" said Redfin analyst Ellen Haberle. ""Unlike the previous two years, when market speed peaked in April and remained flat through the fall, the speed of the market since this April has shown a clear downward trend.""

According to Haberle, Redfin agents have reported many buyers are simply weary from this year's competitive market, and most took July off to cool off and go on vacation.

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""My clients were on the beach with umbrella drinks last month, not touring houses,"" said Redfin agent Kris Paolini, from Maryland. ""After the emotional rollercoaster, they seemed to need a break more than ever.""

Buyers on the West Coast continue to move the fastest, with Californians maintaining their rank as speediest in the country. San Jose was once again named fastest-moving market; 45 percent of new listings sold there went under contract within two weeks. Six other California cities placed in the top 10 in terms of market speed, including San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia was the slowest-moving market, with only 6.5 percent of homes under contract within 14 days. Notably, while none of the metros tracked in the July report were considered a ""buyer's market"" (six or more months' worth of supply), Philadelphia came closest with 5.3 months of supply.

Despite the overall slowdown, Redfin noted market speed is still faster than it has been in years. Last July, only 20.5 percent of homes were pending within two weeks, and only 12.6 percent sold that quickly in July 2011. Haberle said she expects the pace to remain brisk in the current environment of limited supply and historically low mortgage rates.

""These factors probably will continue to drive a sense of urgency among buyers that remain in the market to lock in a low rate and sustain market speed well above autumn 2012 levels,"" she explained.

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