The U.S. supply of homes for sale rose at a record annual pace for the sixth month in a row, up 67.8% year over year in February, signaling the housing market’s continued rebalancing, according to the Realtor.co Monthly Housing Trends Report. Despite the significant increase in inventory over last year’s record lows, home prices are still growing, albeit at a slower pace of 7.8% over last February, a sign of still-high hopes from home sellers entering the market.
In a market with conditions that don’t particularly favor buyers or sellers, both will likely have to make compromises to make a deal happen. As mortgage rates continue to fluctuate and increase the cost of buying a home, it’s essential for sellers to price their homes appropriately to attract buyers in the market. For buyers, it’s critical that they make the best offer they can on a home that fits their needs and budget.
“The number of homes for sale on the market is up significantly from a year ago, even though fewer homeowners have listed their home for sale in recent months. High home prices and mortgage rates continue to cut into buyer interest and homes are taking more than three weeks longer to sell than last year,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for Realtor.com. “With a smaller pool of buyers today and more competition from other homes on the market, home sellers will likely need to adjust their price expectations in the market this spring.”
“For many, shopping for a new home often begins or picks up as we head into the warmer months, which is right around the corner,” said Clare Trapasso, executive news editor at Realtor.com®. “Potential buyers looking to take advantage of more homes to choose from and a less competitive pace also have more negotiating power than they did a year ago. So, if a home has been on the market a while without receiving any offers, they may want the seller to contribute to their closing costs, make expensive repairs, or even buy down their mortgage rate.”
The supply of homes for sale continued to rise in February at a record annual pace, driven chiefly by low interest from buyers facing high home and mortgage costs rather than an influx of new homes for sale to the market. Despite a significant increase in the number of homes for sale in recent months as existing home sales and demand slow, there are still fewer homes available to buy nationwide on a typical day than there were a few years ago.
In February, the U.S. supply of active listings for sale rose at a record annual pace for the sixth month in a row, up 67.8% compared to last year, but it is still well below pre-pandemic levels (-47.4% compared to the February 2017-2019 average). Both newly listed homes (-15.9%) and pending listings, or homes under contract with a buyer (-24.7%), declined year-over-year.
While home prices were up in February compared to last year, year-over-year asking price growth has remained in the single digits for three months in a row, suggesting that home prices are continuing to moderate and cool down from last year’s record highs. While mortgage rates are down from their November highs, rates rebounded this month and with higher home prices compared to last February, the typical monthly mortgage payment is roughly $630 more than it was a year ago. As a result of these cost pressures, the slowdown in demand for homes means more than twice as many sellers cut their asking price in February compared to last year.
The U.S. median listing price was $415,000 in February, up from $406,000 in January, and 7.8% higher than a year ago.
The housing market has cooled considerably since the height of the pandemic when buyer demand outmatched the record low supply of homes for sale and bidding wars were common. In February, homes took more than three weeks longer to sell than they did at this time last year, despite an uptick in buyer sentiment in January. The continued slower pace of home sales signals a return to a more balanced housing market and what was considered normal before the pandemic, and it gives buyers more time to decide if a house is right for them.
The full report can be seen here.