The juggernaut that has become the U.S. housing market finally paused to take a breath last week. But even with buyers and sellers taking a step back temporarily, the industry remained hot.
During the week ending Nov. 7, both buyers and sellers averted their attention from relocations and instead focused on current events, according to Thursday’s report from realtor.com.
“Between the presidential election [on Nov. 3] and a new wave of coronavirus cases, buyers and sellers had a lot of reasons to pause last week,” Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist, said in the report.
Sellers avoided putting their homes on the market, with the number of new listings last week dropping from an already low point, the report said.
New listings were down 12% annually during the week ending Nov. 7, worse than the prior week’s decrease of 9% and a significant fall from the week ending Oct. 24, when newly listed homes were down just 2% compared to the same time in 2019.
A steady supply of new listings is crucial for home sales, and they’ll need to make a strong comeback for housing activity to continue, the report said.
Due in part to the lack of new listings hitting the market last week, the total number of homes for sale recorded a dip too, with total inventory across the U.S. now 39% below last year’s levels.
The speed in which homes are changing hands as well as listing price changes held steady last week with no drastic gains, but both metrics continue “to signal a tight market,” the report said.
With buyers competing for limited inventory, the homes that are available are selling fast. Last week, the average time a property spent on the market was 13 days faster than a year ago, marking the seventh consecutive week that homes are selling 13 or 14 days faster than they did in 2019.
For the 13th week running, listing prices logged double-digit growth, up 12.9% over last year. This latest increase is on par with the 12.2% growth that was recorded in October, when the median listing price reached $350,000.
“The big question is whether both buyers and sellers will jump back into the market after last week’s break,” Ms. Hale said.
“With mortgage rates expected to rise on news of a likely vaccine, buyers may have reason to jump back in and find a home sooner rather than later, but sellers may be more inclined to stay on hold. Thus, even as overall activity slows, we may very well see continued price growth and quick sales,” she added.
Mansion Global is owned by Dow Jones. Both Dow Jones and realtor.com are owned by News Corp.