SEATTLE — The housing market is showing signs of seasonal cooling after a scorching hot summer sales season that stretched uncharacteristically far into fall, according to Zillow’s Weekly Market Report. A nearly six-month acceleration of year-over-year list price increases stabilized this week at 11.7% above 2019. Buyers are quickly buying up what few homes are left on the market, with sales continuing to be dragged down somewhat by increasingly short inventory.
Buyer demand continues to push housing beyond seasonal norms
Newly pending sales are up 19.3% since this time in 2019, but slowed 1.5% since last week in the latest installment of a seven-week downward seasonal trend. In the first week of September, newly pending sales were up 23.8% year over year.
A lack of new housing inventory and seasonal slowing appear to finally be tempering record sales figures, but weekly pending housing figures are now similar to those from last April and July—both of which are traditionally strong sales periods.
Houses are on the market for a median of 12 days before an offer is accepted, which is unchanged from the past two weeks. This is 17 days faster than last year—another effect of strong demand pushing this year’s home shopping season past its usual endpoint.
Housing inventory well keeps getting drier
The downward slide of housing inventory that began in late May continued, dropping 1.3% week over week and reaching 37.2% lower than at this time last year. The last time inventory grew year-over-year was at the end of July 2019.
New listings are down 3.7% from last year and 7.1% from the week prior.
Sales price growth hits new high
A run of weekly list price increases that began in late April has finally flattened out, with median list prices holding steady at $346,080, and could begin to fall as soon as next week in a typical-though-late decline. List prices climbed from 2.8% above 2019 the week of Feb. 1 up to 11.7% year over year this week.
The median sale price was $288,225 in the week ending Sept. 12, up 11.4% since 2019 and up 0.2% week over week.
Would-be sellers are confident price growth is here to stay
A Zillow survey shows general life uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and precarious financial positions are the most common reasons people are waiting to list their homes for sale.
Nearly 40% of those planning to sell in the next three years anticipate a more favorable sale price if they wait, suggesting many homeowners don’t feel pressure to list during today’s buying frenzy in order to get a good price.
While soaring home prices bring challenges for buyers trying to save for a down payment, ultra-low mortgage rates are making monthly payments more affordable for those who can get into a new home.