Homes listed for sale from 1 July 2020 through 30 June 2021 spent a median of one week on the market before going under contract, according to a survey released 11 November by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a record median sales speed dating back to 1989.
In the COVID War, home buyers working remotely felt liberated from the need to live close to their central offices, sought the single-family home life in suburbia, and took advantage of low mortgage interest rates (“Americans Still Fleeing Urban Centers,” 30 Mar 2021).
However, many people were cautious about inviting strangers to tour their homes during the virus’s rampage and were equally reluctant to move into a new place.
As a result, demand for homes soared while supplies shrank, pushing prices to several record highs, as we reported in “Median Home Price Sets Another Record” (29 Jun 2021) and “Home Sales, Prices Still Rising” (27 Jul 2021).
The median U.S. home price was $363,700 in this year’s third quarter, the NAR said, 16 percent higher than a year earlier (see related story in this issue).
Homes typically sell slightly below their listing price, but during the 12 months the NAR analyzed, the median sales price was the full asking price, the highest since the NAR started keeping track of the figures in 2002.
The median sale price for that period was $305,000, up from $272,500 the prior year, the NAR said.
Buyers who found a home that might suit them had to grab it, often foregoing home inspections, the right to cancel the sale if an appraisal was below the agreed-upon price, and even bidding tens of thousands of dollars above the asking price to win the right to buy (“Home Prices Climb, New Starts Reach 14-Year Record,” 20 Apr 2021).
Many offered to pay the full price in cash.
In September, homes sold fastest in Denver, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Seattle, and Tacoma, according to online brokerage Redfin.
The buying frenzy has shut out many potential buyers.
Roughly two-thirds of prospective buyers in September had been shopping for at least three months, a survey by the National Association of Home Builders found.
About 45 percent said they had been unsuccessful because they were regularly outbid by other buyers.
The housing market has slackened in recent weeks, in part because fall means children returning to school and the beginning of preparation for the winter holidays, making it a poor time to move house.
October saw 22 percent fewer active listings than a year earlier, Redfin said.