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Weekly Housing Trends: Week of September 25, 2021

Weekly Housing Trends: Week of September 25, 2021

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 light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we want to give readers more timely weekly updates. Generally, you can look forward to a Weekly Housing Trends View near the end of each week along with a weekly video update from our economists. Here’s what the housing market looked like over the last week.

Early fall is usually the best time of year for buyers to purchase a home. With September inventory hitting 2021 highs, the season still holds promise even though one of the big take-aways from this week’s data is that we’re seeing some weakness in the number of homeowners listing their homes for sale. The recent decline in new sellers hasn’t sparked renewed price upticks or faster time on market than we’ve seen in recent weeks, but the steady, gradual catch-up in active inventory we’d observed has faded. 

Key Findings:

  • The median listing price grew at 8.6 percent over last year, a second straight week at this pace. After an early-September uptick, home price growth maintained momentum back in high single-digit territory. Home prices continue to rise due to a mismatch between supply and demand, stemming from a decade-long shortage of homebuilding. While the rate of advance for the median home listing has slowed, asking prices for typically sized single family homes continue to increase at double-digit pace, not far behind this summer’s record-high home sales price growth. This means that housing affordability will be an increasingly important consideration for buyers.
  • New listings–a measure of sellers putting homes up for sale–were down 5 percent from last year. Last week we noted that the market appeared to be at a turning point and that buyers and sellers would determine the path forward for sales. This week’s housing inventory data show more weakness in new listings. They’ve declined in 3 of the last 4 weeks after gaining more often than not in the previous 5 months. With ‘finding the right home’ still a critical buyer pain point due to limited availability of for-sale homes, this metric has outsized impact on the future trajectory of home sales. 
  • Active inventory continues to fall short and is down 22 percent from a year ago for the third week in a row. With new listings slipping again this week, the market didn’t make any headway on the inventory gap. As the trend in new sellers has weakened, it’s harder for active inventory to grow as long as shoppers are still actively buying homes.
  • Time on market was down 10 days from last year. Homes continue to move faster than one year ago, and in fact, the speed has improved so much that every week since mid-March has had a lower time on market than the fastest-selling week in 2020. But if you didn’t make your move last year, don’t despair. In 2020, homes sold fastest in September and October, but we typically see the lowest time on market in summer. This June, the typical listing was on the market for a record fast 37 days, and we saw that figure inch up by 1 day each month in both July and August. In September, time on market was up another 4 days from August. In 2021, housing has hewn closer to its typical trends, which imply more slowing in the months ahead; another reason that the best time of year to buy a home is coming up next week.