Le Lézard
Classified in: Science and technology
Subject: Economic News/Analysis

Redfin Reports There Were Fewer Homes for Sale in May Than Any Other Month on Record


(NASDAQ: RDFN) ? The number of homes for sale in the U.S. fell 7.1% year over year to 1.4 million on a seasonally adjusted basis in May, according to a new report from Redfin (redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage. That's the lowest level in Redfin's records, which date back to 2012, and the first annual decline since April 2022.

By comparison, there were 2.2 million homes for sale in May 2019?before the pandemic rocked the U.S. housing market?meaning housing supply was 38.6% below pre-pandemic levels this May. America's housing stock is dwindling because there are very few people selling homes. New listings of homes for sale declined 25.2% year over year in May to the third lowest level on record on a seasonally adjusted basis, as homeowners were handcuffed by high mortgage rates.

Nearly every homeowner with a mortgage has an interest rate below 6%, meaning many are opting to stay put because selling and buying a new home would mean taking on a higher monthly mortgage payment. The average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate in May was 6.43%, up from 5.23% a year earlier and a record low of 2.65% in 2021.

The Intensifying Housing Shortage Is Propping Up Home Prices

The median U.S. home sale price was $419,103 in May. That's down just 3.1% from a year earlier, when prices hit a record high of $432,311. While home prices fell in May, they posted a smaller decline than they did in April, when prices dropped 4.2% from a year earlier?the largest decrease on record with the exception of January 2012.

"It's too early to say that price declines have bottomed out," said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. "Prices may have room to fall because mortgage rates could still rise. The Federal Reserve just signaled that it is likely to continue raising interest rates this year. That could further hamper homebuyer demand and cause home prices to fall in the near term, though the drops would be minimal. We're unlikely to see double-digit price declines like we did during the 2008 housing crisis."

Fairweather continued: "Many people think it's a bad time to buy a home because mortgage rates are high, but they should keep in mind that when rates do ultimately fall, many buyers waiting on the sidelines could jump back in. That could lead to more bidding wars since there aren't enough homes for sale, and heightened competition could push up prices, offsetting some or all of the benefit of lower interest rates."

The typical home that sells is no longer selling at a discount. The average sale-to-list price ratio, which measures how close homes are selling to their final asking prices, was 100% in May, meaning the typical home that sold was purchased at its list price. That's down from 103.1% a year earlier, but is the highest level of any May on record prior to the pandemic and follows nine straight months of sub-100% sale-to-list price ratios.

It's worth noting that price changes differ vastly from market to market. For example, Austin, TX, Boise, ID and Oakland, CA all saw double-digit year-over-year price declines in May, while prices rose roughly 10% in Hartford, CT, Rochester, NY and Cincinnati. Pandemic boomtowns and expensive coastal hubs have seen their housing markets slow relatively quickly because prices soared to unsustainable levels during the pandemic and are now coming back down to earth.

The Housing Shortage Is Fueling Homebuyer Competition in Many Markets

While demand from homebuyers has fallen, new listings have fallen even further, meaning many of the buyers who are out there are encountering bidding wars.

Even though the typical home that sold in May was purchased for its list price, more than one-third (37.5%) went for more than their list prices?a sign that some buyers are facing competition. That's down from 59% a year earlier but is the highest share of any May on record prior to the pandemic.

Nearly half (46.7%) of home offers written by Redfin agents faced a bidding war in May on a seasonally adjusted basis. While that's down from 56.1% a year earlier and a peak of 69.6% in January 2022, it's notable that so many buyers are facing competition at a time when demand is sluggish.

"There's a huge lack of housing inventory in Miami, and that combined with higher interest rates is making homebuyers' lives very challenging. Their money just isn't going as far," said local Redfin Premier real estate agent Rafael Corrales. "I'm encouraging my buyers to be a little more flexible; in some cases, I'm suggesting they go back to 2021 winning strategies, which can mean waiving contingencies and offering high earnest money deposits because they're competing against a lot of cash buyers."

Home Sales Are Falling, But Not as Quickly as They Were at the Start of the Year

Closed home sales fell 19.8% year over year on a seasonally adjusted basis in May, the smallest drop in nearly a year and an improvement from the record 35.3% decline in January. Still, sales were significantly below pre-pandemic levels, down 21% from May 2019.

Pending home sales performed similarly. They fell 21.4% year over year on a seasonally adjusted basis in May, the smallest drop since last summer and an improvement from the record 36.1% decline in November. Pending sales were down 16.1% from May 2019 levels.

May 2023 Highlights

 

May 2023

Month-Over-
Month Change

Year-Over-
Year Change

Median sale price

$419,103

2.8%

-3.1%

Pending sales, seasonally adjusted

376,413

-0.2%

-21.4%

Homes sold, seasonally adjusted

421,067

-1.2%

-19.8%

New listings, seasonally adjusted

465,109

0.9%

-25.2%

All homes for sale, seasonally adjusted (active listings)

1,373,089

-5.8%

-7.1%

Months of supply

1.8

-0.4

0.2

Median days on market

31

-5

14

Share of for-sale homes with a price drop

14.5%

1.8 ppts

3.6 ppts

Share of homes sold above final list price

37.5%

3.9 ppts

-21.5 ppts

Average sale-to-final-list-price ratio

100%

0.5 ppts

-3.1 ppts

Share of home offers written by Redfin agents that faced competition, seasonally adjusted

46.7%

-1.1 ppts

-9.4 ppts

Pending sales that fell out of contract, as % of overall pending sales

14.4%

1 ppt

2.2 ppts

Average 30-year fixed mortgage rate

6.43%

0.09 ppts

1.2 ppts

Metro-Level Highlights: May 2023

To view the full report, including charts and additional metro-level data, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/news/housing-market-tracker-may-2023

About Redfin

Redfin (www.redfin.com) is a technology-powered real estate company. We help people find a place to live with brokerage, rentals, lending, title insurance, and renovations services. We also run the country's #1 real estate brokerage site. Our home-buying customers see homes first with same day tours, and our lending and title services help them close quickly. Customers selling a home in certain markets can have our renovations crew fix up their home to sell for top dollar. Our rentals business empowers millions nationwide to find apartments and houses for rent. Customers who buy and sell with Redfin pay a 1% listing fee, subject to minimums, less than half of what brokerages commonly charge. Since launching in 2006, we've saved customers more than $1.5 billion in commissions. We serve more than 100 markets across the U.S. and Canada and employ over 5,000 people.

For more information or to contact a local Redfin real estate agent, visit www.redfin.com. To learn about housing market trends and download data, visit the Redfin Data Center. To be added to Redfin's press release distribution list, email [email protected]. To view Redfin's press center, click here.


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