Sellers Still Direct a Hot Housing Market But Fall Cooling Approaches

Zillow

Sellers still hold the reins of the U.S. housing market as prices reach record year-over-year gains and low inventory further erodes, according to the Zillow Weekly Market Report1. However, tapering pending sales and minimal recent growth in list prices point to an overdue seasonal market slowdown that may finally be coming.

Pending sales slow as short time-on-market stays steady

  • Newly pending listings are up a sizable 22.2% year over year, but fell 4.6% month over month and 1.5% week over week. Though the pandemic pushed the buying season back and demand is still high, buyers’ scramble for houses seems to be calming somewhat.
  • As has been the case throughout much of August and September, houses typically stayed on the market for 13 days across the U.S. Listings’ median time on the market has grown shorter compared to last year since mid-May, and they now typically go pending 15 days sooner than during the same week in 2019.

Inventory continues downward spiral that began in late May

  • The long contraction in for-sale inventory continued for the 18th straight week, now standing at 35% below 2019 levels. This represents the largest year-over-year drop in total inventory in ZIllow’s recently launched weekly data series going back through 2019, and is consistent with a larger drop than any recorded in Zillow’s monthly inventory data back to 2013. Inventory is down 3.2% month over month.
  • New for-sale listings are down 9.5% year over year and down 6.9% since the previous month. In late August, a brief surge of new listings threatened to reach parity with 2019 levels, but that pace dropped off again in September, contributing to the ever-deepening drought of overall active listings.

Prices tower over 2019 as sellers’ market endures

  • Median sale price for the week of Aug. 15 rose 9.3% year over year to $284,625, which is the highest yearly jump in price since at least the start of 2019. Median sale price was up 1.2% month over month, showing less aggressive price growth than the previous eight weeks.
  • Median list price rose to $345,000, 10.4% over last year’s figures and again the highest year-over-year increase in Zillow weekly data stretching through last year. However, the only slight monthly uptick of 0.1% could indicate that an overdue seasonal cooling of the market may finally be setting in.

Consumer confidence rises and unemployment claims fall 

  • After two consecutive months of decline, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index jumped 15.5 points from August to September, the strongest month-over-month gain since April 2003. Overall confidence is still 23% below February levels.
  • New unemployment claims fell by 36,000 last week but remained between 800,000 and 900,000 for the fifth straight week. Those collecting unemployment insurance through regular state programs fell by 980,000 to 11.8 million, which is the lowest level seen since March, but still far above the 1.7 million on unemployment at this time last year.

Metropolitan
Area*

Newly
Pending
Sales –
YoY

Newly
Pending
Sales –
WoW

Median
Days to
Pending

Total
For-
Sale
Listings
– YoY

New
For-
Sale
Listings
– YoY

New
For-
Sale
Listings
– WoW

Median
Sale
Price**

Median
Sale
Price –
YoY**

United States

22.2%

-1.5%

13

-35.0%

-9.5%

-2.4%

$284,625

9.3%

New York/Newark, NY/NJ

52.5%

-4.5%

31

-20.4%

0.2%

-1.8%

$448,750

4.2%

Los Angeles, CA

10.7%

-0.4%

12

-24.7%

4.3%

-5.0%

$719,625

10.1%

Chicago, IL

36.9%

-3.1%

12

-28.6%

-0.8%

-8.6%

$267,750

8.7%

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

27.1%

-4.3%

23

-32.7%

-24.4%

-0.7%

$303,250

9.5%

Philadelphia, PA

36.8%

2.4%

8

-37.6%

-1.0%

-2.5%

$279,850

5.3%

Houston, TX

29.3%

-1.5%

16

-29.5%

-26.0%

-13.0%

$269,344

8.8%

Washington, DC

19.5%

2.1%

7

-34.8%

-7.6%

-11.9%

$451,525

7.8%

Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL

31.7%

-1.7%

26

-13.5%

6.1%

17.9%

$325,660

10.5%

Atlanta, GA

15.6%

-2.8%

14

-31.6%

-21.4%

-11.1%

$285,174

11.2%

Boston, MA

3.9%

-0.2%

8

-31.4%

-16.7%

-9.7%

$523,750

9.7%

San Francisco, CA

31.6%

0.5%

11

-6.4%

21.8%

-7.0%

$916,750

14.6%

Detroit, MI

39.8%

-3.6%

9

-38.8%

-19.0%

-10.6%

$227,025

14.5%

Riverside, CA

11.3%

-1.9%

9

-48.0%

-0.8%

-2.1%

$411,000

10.1%

Phoenix, AZ

24.1%

2.6%

11

20.9%

3.9%

-7.4%

$323,438

12.6%

Seattle, WA

20.6%

0.4%

6

-31.9%

-6.9%

-2.2%

$529,686

9.4%

Minneapolis-

St. Paul, MN

35.8%

-2.1%

16

-27.4%

11.1%

-0.6%

$313,250

9.9%

San Diego, CA

19.9%

0.1%

9

-37.5%

-3.8%

-16.3%

$638,125

9.8%

St. Louis, MO

27.1%

8.5%

6

-38.8%

-8.8%

0.9%

$215,488

9.0%

Tampa, FL

25.9%

-2.7%

7

-35.5%

-10.6%

4.4%

$258,412

10.0%

Baltimore, MD

54.6%

-0.8%

12

-44.4%

0.4%

-6.9%

$318,390

2.1%

Denver, CO

19.6%

-4.3%

6

-35.2%

-0.6%

-16.4%

$461,875

6.5%

Pittsburgh, PA

0.7%

-0.8%

10

-27.8%

-8.9%

5.5%

$199,988

8.7%

Portland, OR

19.7%

-1.6%

7

-38.0%

-6.1%

15.3%

$442,750

8.8%

Charlotte, NC

32.3%

-3.3%

6

-44.3%

-19.1%

-5.2%

$286,562

9.2%

Sacramento, CA

9.8%

-0.7%

7

-44.3%

-4.6%

-10.6%

$460,438

9.2%

San Antonio, TX

80.1%

2.3%

26

-26.0%

-35.2%

-11.6%

$252,750

7.6%

Orlando, FL

14.3%

-1.6%

12

-17.5%

-8.9%

-12.7%

$286,375

9.8%

Cincinnati, OH

19.3%

-1.1%

4

-39.1%

-13.1%

-19.7%

$215,738

16.4%

Cleveland, OH

20.0%

1.3%

17

-40.7%

7.7%

9.2%

$173,100

6.7%

Kansas City, MO

14.9%

-0.1%

5

-44.0%

-5.9%

-7.3%

$256,975

11.1%

Las Vegas, NV

-12.1%

-1.6%

15

-22.4%

-6.0%

-8.2%

$306,625

0.0%

Columbus, OH

25.3%

-4.6%

4

-40.2%

-20.4%

-6.9%

$238,750

17.5%

Indianapolis, IN

-4.9%

-3.2%

5

-40.7%

5.0%

-9.1%

$221,875

10.7%

San Jose, CA

48.3%

-0.7%

15

-19.4%

61.4%

-6.6%

$1,129,875

9.8%

Austin, TX

35.4%

-3.5%

8

-37.2%

-22.1%

-21.6%

$351,617

9.7%

Virginia Beach, VA

22.9%

-0.6%

30

-39.8%

3.0%

-6.7%

$274,500

6.3%

Nashville, TN

5.3%

2.5%

34

-25.6%

-21.7%

5.2%

$317,750

5.9%

Providence, RI

49.3%

-0.6%

13

-38.8%

-3.3%

3.2%

$324,675

8.8%

Milwaukee, WI

10.0%

-2.5%

30

-5.6%

-0.8%

-8.2%

$206,875

4.7%

Jacksonville, FL

20.2%

-2.1%

13

-38.4%

-30.5%

-6.1%

$267,000

1.9%

Memphis, TN

14.7%

-2.7%

7

-46.3%

-6.9%

10.9%

$204,875

5.2%

Oklahoma City, OK

43.3%

-1.6%

9

-35.5%

-14.6%

-18.2%

$206,738

13.0%

Louisville, KY

5.3%

2.5%

6

-43.9%

-6.4%

0.1%

$216,875

8.9%

Hartford, CT

49.3%

-0.6%

9

-40.8%

2.0%

-11.7%

$263,125

11.1%

Richmond, VA

6

-40.4%

-11.0%

-4.2%

$282,938

6.1%

New Orleans, LA

10.0%

-2.5%

18

-43.9%

-19.7%

-6.8%

$231,188

5.9%

Buffalo, NY

20.2%

-2.1%

10

-37.5%

-11.9%

1.4%

$189,375

8.3%

Raleigh, NC

14.7%

-2.7%

5

-42.6%

-16.3%

-4.9%

$313,438

7.0%

Birmingham, AL

43.3%

-1.6%

7

-35.1%

7.8%

-1.5%

$220,412

6.2%

Salt Lake City, UT

6

-46.5%

-40.3%

-24.0%

$379,646

10.3%

*Table ordered by market size
**Sale price data as of the week ending Sept. 26

1 The Zillow Weekly Market Reports are a weekly overview of the national and local real estate markets. The reports are compiled by Zillow Economic Research and data is aggregated from public sources and listing data on Zillow.com. New for-sale listings data reflect daily counts using a smoothed, seven-day trailing average. Total for-sale listings, newly pending sales, days to pending and median list price data reflect weekly counts using a smoothed, four-week trailing average. National newly pending sales trends are based upon aggregation of the 38 largest metro areas where historic pending listing data coverage is most statistically reliable, and excludes some metros due to upstream data coverage issues. For more information, visit www.zillow.com/research/.

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