U.S. Experience record-breaking 8th month of high-speed sales

Market Trend

U.S. Experience record-breaking 8th month of high-speed sales

The pace of home sales broke a record for the eight consecutive month during October even amid slowing seasonal patterns, according to a report from realtor.com released on Wednesday.

Amid the continued shattering of annual sales pace records, inventory also took a slight hit during October, according to the report.

“The year may be winding down, but 2021’s feverish pace of home sales continues to hit new records,” Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Despite returns to more typical pre-COVID seasonality which means a slower fall versus summer season, October housing data suggests that demand is still unseasonably high.”

“A number of factors could be enabling buyers to persist, including rising mortgage rates and surging rental prices,” Hale continued.

“Looking at the bigger picture of the pandemic, increased adoption of technology could be playing a key role in helping buyers move further along in the process virtually. With these ‘serious searchers’ — some of whom have been planning to buy since the pandemic — better prepared to jump on new listings quickly and keeping inventory tight, mismatched supply and demand will continue to challenge buyers eager to move on to the next phase of life.”

During every month between March and October 2021, the typical U.S. house spent fewer days on market than during the quickest-selling month between 2016 and 2020. Only four metro areas saw an increase in days on market during October.

The typical home was on the market for about 45 days in October, eight days less than in 2020 and 21 days less than in 2019. Homes tended to sell particularly quickly in the South where days on market were down by 10 days from 2020. The South is also where the top five quickest selling metros were located: Miami (sold 31 days faster than last year), Raleigh (30 days faster), Jacksonville (17 days faster), Orlando (17 days faster) and Memphis (16 days faster).

Meanwhile, strong buyer demand paired with slowed seller activity hampered inventory growth. Inventory was down 21.9 percent nationwide year over year, a slight improvement from being down 22.2 percent year over year in September.

However, gains made were far weaker than those made a few months ago during the summer, when inventory improved from being down about 43 percent on an annual basis in June to being down by just 33.5 percent in July.

New listings dropped 2.3 percent year over year at a national level, while the Northeast (down 8.5 percent) and West (down 8 percent) took the biggest hits. Likewise, pending homes outpaced active homes on realtor.com by 5,975 listings during October, reflecting the inventory and demand imbalance.

Fewer sellers came out in large metro areas in October than during the same month in 2020, with new listings dropping by double-digits in trending tech hubs, like Raleigh, North Carolina, where new listings were down 15.8 percent year over year.

“Emerging tech hubs like Raleigh have seen a rise in housing demand in recent years, exacerbated by increased mobility during the pandemic,” Hale said. “Recent realtor.com data shows that over one-third (35.3 percent) of Raleigh home shoppers are from major metros like NYC, DC and LA.”

Although home price gains were not quite as dramatic in October as in previous months, a report released by NAR on Wednesday showed that nearly 80 percent of metro areas saw double-digit price gains during the third quarter.

According to realtor.com’s data, the median list price in October was up 8.6 percent year over year to $380,000. And sellers are continuing to make fewer listing price reductions than in 2018 and 2019 (price cuts were down 4.6 percent from 2019), even though price reductions were up 0.8 percent year over year in October.