How much of a difference does five days make? In today’s fast-paced housing market where real estate listings get snapped up almost overnight, a whole lot.
Our weekly column “How’s the Housing Market This Week?” delivers the most up-to-date statistics on the four big bellwethers of the housing market: home prices, days on the market, number of new listings, and mortgage rates. And for the week ending Aug. 13, one critical change is that the pace of home sales slowed significantly, with listings sitting five extra days on the market compared with this time last year.
Homes typically linger on the market just 34 days, so a five-day upswing is huge. Here’s what this and other recent fluctuations mean, so that both homebuyers and sellers can stay on top of the dynamic world of real estate today.
‘Homes are sitting on the market’
“Last year’s compressed home sale timelines are lengthening,” notes Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale in her analysis of the data. “For a third week in a row, homes are sitting on the market for a longer time than last year, and the gap has increased each week.”
This new breather not only offers homebuyers more time, but also paves the way to a less frantic home-shopping mindset overall.
“As both buyers and sellers adjust to the rebalancing market, expectations shift, reducing the sense of urgency in the market and reinforcing the trend toward longer sale timelines,” Hale explains.
In other words, listings may linger even longer once homebuyers start kicking back and thinking, “What’s the rush?”
Home prices are still going strong
Although homes might be taking longer to sell, homebuyers shouldn’t expect major discounts yet. For the week ending Aug. 13, median listing prices rose by 13.3% from a year earlier.
“The typical asking price of for-sale homes was up from last year by double digits for a 35th week,” says Hale.
But while home prices are still near record highs—clocking in currently at a national median of $449,000—home price growth has been tapering for three straight weeks, down from its 16.6% peak in July.
This means that home sellers who are hoping for the good ol’ days of way-over-asking-price bidding wars may be in for a rude awakening.
“Even though asking prices are still climbing, July data show that more sellers overreached what buyers were willing to pay, and had to reduce their asking price,” says Hale.
The number of new listings dropped a lot
Despite home prices still being near record highs, for the week ending Aug. 13, the number of new listings on the market plummeted by 15% from a year earlier.
“This week marks a sixth straight week of year-over-year declines in the number of new listings coming up for sale,” says Hale. “The early 2022 enthusiasm that homeowners had toward selling is evaporating.”
As such, home sellers who do list are still hot commodities.
“The housing market isn’t unfriendly to sellers right now,” Hale says. “It’s important to keep these shifts in perspective.” In short, we are still firmly in a seller’s market.
“Homeowners who price their homes competitively are still likely to see an offer or more in a reasonable time frame,” she says.
Mortgage rates dipped
The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 5.13% from the previous week’s 5.22%, according to Freddie Mac, for the week ending Aug. 18.
This is no doubt welcome news to cash-strapped homebuyers who are looking for any break financially, although this will depend on where they’re shopping.
“National trends may or may not match what’s happening in your market at your price point,” Hale points out. “As an example, the Realtor.com 2022 Hottest ZIP Codes report shows that despite a generally cooling housing market nationwide, ZIPs in the Northeast, and particularly in historic New England, remain competitive, with homes selling quickly and attracting more shoppers than in other parts of the country.”