Buyers Flocking to "Harshest Market Yet"
By Suzanne De Vita
The climate is gradually moving toward spring-like temperatures…but it is burning up in housing, with prices rising 8 percent year-over-year, according to a new realtor.com® report. The climb in March sent the median list price to $280,000—above the prior record $275,000 from July 2017.
Based on data from realtor.com, there were 1.29 million March listings (a decline of 8 percent year-over-year), and homes lasted 63 days on-market (a 7 percent decline year-over-year and a 24 percent decline month-over-month).
“Our latest inventory data tells us buyers are out in full force this spring,” says Javier Vivas, director of Economic Research for realtor.com. “Never in history have there been more eyes on fewer homes than today. At the end of March, we observed price gains that put us on pace for half of the homes listed this summer to be above $300,000. Buyers are not just paying more for the same home; the mix of homes in the market is rapidly changing.”
According to Vivas, the most affordable homes are the most scarce—and the most sought-after.
“The injection of new listings above $350,000 remains healthy, but inventory between $200,000 and $350,000 remains anemic and non-existent under $200,000,” Vivas says. “This bodes well for buyers in the upper and luxury tiers but paints a darker picture for the entry-level market. If the pattern holds, one in 12 listings nationally will be listed above $1,000,000 this summer, while only one in three will be listed under the $200,000—the sweet spot targeted by nearly half of all buyers. In February, above-$1,000,000 homes made up only one in every 40 home sales.”
The crunch, explains Vivas, has been percolating for some time.
“March housing trends show the inventory depletion we’ve seen over the last two buying seasons is carrying over to this year,” says Vivas. “It’s going to be a languid search for buyers this season as they face the harshest, most competitive buying conditions yet.”