Report: Homes selling faster, remain at summer peak prices

new home sales
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The U.S. housing market continued to near record levels in October, thwarting the usual fall slowdown. For the first time since 2011, homes sold faster in October than September and prices remained at their summer peak of $350,000, according to realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Trends Report. However, October also saw an improvement in declines of newly listed homes which could signal some relief on the horizon for weary buyers.

“In the fall, we normally see homes sell more slowly and prices pull back from peak levels. But this October, we saw a drop in the time it takes to sell a home even while home prices remain at their summer peak” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com®. “Drawn in by low mortgage rates and the hope of more space, buyers have stayed in the housing market this fall, keeping prices high and pushing time on market to unseasonable lows. Although we saw growth in newly listed properties in the Northeast and West this month, we’ll need a consistent wave of fresh homes hitting the market in order to better match persistent buyer demand.”

Home sales speed up in October compared to September

  • Homes sold in 53 days in October, 13 days faster than last year and one day faster than September.
  • This is the first time the pace of sales has sped up from September to October since 2011, signaling buyers continued to face tough competition in this anything but normal year.
  • Within the nation’s 50 largest metros, homes sold even faster, spending only 45 days on market. Buffalo, N.Y. was the only metro to have homes sell slower than last year with an additional seven days on market. The metros where homes sold the fastest compared to last year included:
    • Hartford, Conn. (-23 days);
    • Virginia Beach, Va. (-22 days); and
    • San Diego (-20 days).

Home prices remain fixed near summer’s peak and accelerate over September

  • The median listing price grew 12.2% year-over-year, to $350,000 in October. This is an acceleration from September when prices grew by 11.1%.
  • In a normal year, prices would have dropped 1-4% from summer’s price peak by October.
  • While prices increased nationwide, the largest gains were seen in the Northeast (+11.4%), followed by the West (+10.1%), Midwest (+9%) and South (+7.3%).
  • Within the nation’s 50 largest metros, prices increased by 8.9%, which is a slight slow down from September when prices grew 9.3% and could signal a shift in the market balance that may lead to further slowdowns in the pace of price growth.
  • The metros which had the largest gains in prices included:
    • Los Angeles (+16.9%),
    • Philadelphia (+16.7%), and
    • Cincinnati (16.3%).

A severe lack of homes for sale continued despite improvement in newly listed homes

  • Nationally, the number of homes for sale was down 38.3%, amounting to roughly half a million fewer homes for sale than last year.
  • Newly listed homes were down 7.7% compared to last year, but this is substantial improvement from September when new listings were down 13.8%. Western (+7.2%) and Northeastern markets (+4.1%) are seeing the strongest improvements with more new listings hitting the market, while the Midwest (-9.5%) and South (-13.8%) were still down compared to last year.
  • Within the nation’s 50 largest metros, the number of homes for sale declined 38.6%. The metros with the largest declines in new listings compared to last year included:
    • Nashville, Tenn. (-27.5%);
    • Charlotte, N.C. (-22.9%); and
    • Richmond, VA. (-21.8%).
  • The metros which saw the most new listings hit the market included:
    • San Jose, Calif. (+30.6%);
    • New York (+28.2%); and
    • San Francisco (+25.9%).

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