Weekly Housing Trends View — Data Week Ending Sep 16, 2023 – Realtor.com News

Our research team releases regular monthly housing trends reports. These reports break down inventory metrics like the number of active listings and the pace of the market. In addition, we continue to give readers more timely weekly updates, an effort that began in response to the rapid changes in the economy and housing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, you can look forward to a Weekly Housing Trends View and the latest weekly housing data on Thursdays and regular video updates from our economists monthly. Here’s what the housing market looked like over the last week.
Heading further into the fall season, home listing prices continue to be propped up by a low existing home inventory, as higher mortgage rates contribute to an ongoing existing home inventory crunch. Amidst the current challenges, the arrival of fall typically signals more favorable buying conditions compared to other times of the year. Historical data suggests that the first week of October is likely to be the prime time for homebuyers this year. During this period, homebuyers can expect prices to be lower than peak levels, reduced competition, and typically higher inventory compared to the bustling summer months. 

This week, the focus was squarely on the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, where the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate while assessing additional economic data to determine the appropriate extent of any future policy firming. Recent Consumer Price Index data revealed a slight uptick in headline inflation for August. However, it’s noteworthy that core inflation, which excludes the more volatile food and energy categories, exhibited a softening trend in August, declining from 4.7% in July to 4.3%. The Committee noted that economic activity has still been expanding at a steady pace and while job gains have slowed, they remain strong, with the unemployment rate remaining low. Looking ahead, if incoming data continues to align with market expectations, it sets a promising tone for the housing market’s stability. This, in turn, provides a conducive environment for both buyers and sellers to make more effective long-term plans.

Key Findings:

This past week we saw a slight uptick of 0.2% in the median home listing price compared to the same week last year. This trend of stable or increasing prices has persisted for nine consecutive weeks. While we didn’t quite reach last year’s peak prices during the summer, it looks like we might stay slightly ahead of last year’s figures throughout the autumn and winter months, as the market recovers from a dip at the end of the previous year.

Adding to the price support is an ongoing inventory shortage, with fewer homes hitting the market compared to last year and previous years. This scarcity in available homes continues to bolster prices.
Over the past 63 weeks, we’ve consistently seen a decline in the number of newly listed homes compared to the same period one year ago. However, this gap in new listings has been gradually narrowing over the past few weeks. This shift comes as the market recovers from more significant declines experienced last year, which were triggered by the steady increase in mortgage rates affecting the real estate landscape.

In the most recent week, the decrease in newly listed homes was 6.0% compared to the previous year, showing improvement from the 7.1% decline in the week prior. It’s worth noting that the recent uptick in mortgage rates continued to cause many current homeowners to feel somewhat “locked-in,” discouraging them from selling their homes, which, in turn, limits the availability of fresh new listings in the market.
During the past week, we observed the 13th successive drop in the number of homes available for sale when compared to the previous year. This decline showed a slight improvement compared to the previous week’s -5.1% figure. Back in July, a whopping 60.3% of homebuyers reported not being able to find a suitable home to purchase. This predicament arose from two main factors: limited inventory within their budget range and a scarcity of homes that matched their specific needs. However, as the inventory of existing homes remains tight, new construction has emerged as an enticing alternative for prospective buyers.
Despite affordability challenges causing a dip in the demand for homes, there’s still a pool of eager homebuyers navigating through a decreasing supply of available houses for sale. Consequently, we’re witnessing a reduction in the time it takes for homes to sell when compared to last year.

For 59 consecutive weeks, homes were lingering on the market longer than they did in the previous year. However, this gap has gradually closed, and as of two weeks ago, homes were typically spending the same amount of time on the market as they did the previous year. As the real estate market continues to recover from the slowdown experienced in 2022, it’s highly likely that homes will start selling more swiftly compared to a year ago in the coming weeks, even though the demand may not be as high.

Data Summary:
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