RE/MAX National Housing Report for April 2020

Pandemic Curbs Home Sales By 20% Year-Over-Year, Prices Remain Strong

Fewer sellers, fewer buyers: The first full month of coronavirus stay-at-home orders weighed on April home sales, causing them to drop an average of 20.2% compared to a year ago. Inventory in the report’s 53 markets similarly tumbled by 20.5% year-over-year, while the Median Sale Price of $276,000 was up 9.3%.

Restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 turned what is traditionally the year’s fifth busiest month for home sales back to slumbering wintertime levels. Four markets –  New York, Detroit, Miami and San Francisco – posted year-over-year sales declines of more than 40%. Just two markets – Minneapolis, MN and Billings, MT – reported an increase, while eight saw declines of less than 10%.

Like March, April is a transition month toward peak home sales in the summer. In a typical year, the busiest month is often May or June, with July and August being close behind.

Days on Market dropped seven days to 46 year over year, setting a new low for April in the report’s 12-year history. By contrast, Months Supply of Inventory grew from 3.0 to 3.5.

The Median Sales Price of $276,000 also was a report record for April.

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for April 2020

Residential real estate activity around Western Washington reflected expected declines during April with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic taking its toll. A new report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows year-over-year (YOY) drops system-wide in new listings, pending sales and closed sales, but prices increased nearly 6.4%.

The Northwest MLS report for April shows area-wide inventory fell nearly 21% from a year ago, dropping from 12,955 listings to 10,282. A comparison of the 23 counties in the report shows only four counties with YOY increases (Jefferson at 0.9%, Whatcom at nearly 6%, Douglas at 13.8% and Lewis at 17.7%), while three counties had shrinkages of around 30% or more (King at -29.6%, Clallam at -32.9% and Island at -39.2%).

The volume of new listings added during April was off 34.7% compared to the same month a year ago. Brokers added 7,641 new listings last month, down from both March when 10,291 new listings were added, and April 2019 when brokers added 11,697 new listings.

Despite the slower activity, the months of supply improved only slightly, rising from the March figure of 1.4 months to 1.75 months of inventory at the end of April.

In King County, prices rose 4% from a year ago, from $625,000 to $650,000. Snohomish County prices were up nearly 6% and Pierce County joined Kitsap with a double-digit gain; prices there increased from $355,000 to $397,750 for a 12% gain.

System-wide, prices were up about 6.4%, rising from the year-ago figure of $424,950 to last month’s figure of $452,030. Year-to-date prices are up nearly 9.3% compared to twelve months ago.

Source: NWMLS 5/6/20

RE/MAX National Housing Report for March 2020

Despite the advance of the coronavirus across the U.S. in the second half of the month, March home sales increased 2.7% year-over-year in the report’s 52 markets – a hint of what might have been.

March was the fourth consecutive month with year-over-year increases in U.S. home sales – a streak not seen since 2016. But the spread of COVID-19, and the initiation of governmental measures to slow it, dampened the month’s overall sales results:

• March’s year-over-year sales growth of less than 3% was significantly less than December 2019 through February 2020 where year-over-year sales increases averaged 10%.

• The sequential monthly growth in sales from February to March is typically the largest month-over-month percentage increase each year, averaging 32%. This year, March sales increased just 23.8% over February – the lowest such increase for this time period in the report’s nearly 12-year history.

Inventory levels in March continued to constrict amid healthy buyer interest, which helped drive further price increases. Year-over-year, March inventory declined 14.9%, continuing a streak that began in July 2019. Meanwhile, the Median Sales Price of $265,000 was 7.7% higher than a year ago, setting a report record for the month of March. A record low for March was the 54 Days on Market, while 2.7 Months Supply of Inventory was typical for the month, based on the past four years.

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for March 2020

Like many sectors of the economy, residential real estate is experiencing disruption and uncertainty just when the vigorous spring market was ramping up. Not surprisingly, the March activity report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which covers 23 counties across Washington state, was mixed as guidelines affecting how brokers conduct business evolved.

Housing activity around Western Washington in March showed the volume of new listings added during the month surpassed February’s total, as did both pending and closed sales. Year-over-year prices increased. However, commenting on the latest report, Northwest MLS brokers emphasized the numbers do not yet reflect the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on local real estate.

Despite limitations, Northwest MLS brokers added 10,291 new listings to the database during March, outgaining February by 2,505 listings (up 31.2%) and nearly matching the year-ago number (10,516). At the end of March, there were 9,418 active listings in the NWMLS database, a drop of nearly 22% from twelve months ago, but a gain of 23% from February. Area-wide, there was 1.4 months of supply, but it ranged from less than a month in both Snohomish and Thurston counties to more than nine months in San Juan County.

Pending sales (mutually accepted offers) slowed during March, dropping about 13.5% from a year ago. Brokers reported 8,880 pending sales during the month, which compares to 10,261 for the same month a year ago. Compared to February, pendings rose by 525 transactions.

Median prices on last month’s completed transactions rose 10.3% from a year ago, increasing from 415,950 to $458,900. Only two counties (San Juan and Ferry) reported year-over-year price drops. Northwest MLS representatives were generally upbeat about the adjustments being made and the prospects for recovering as brokers navigate through the crisis, although one broker noted the high-end market has been affected in a negative way.

Source: NWMLS 4/6/20

RE/MAX National Housing Report for February 2020

Representing the last full month before the coronavirus became a global pandemic, February saw the third consecutive month of year-over-year increases in U.S. home sales – a streak not seen since 2015. At the same time, inventory across the report’s 53 metro markets plunged 15.8%, marking the fourth successive month of double-digit percentage, year-over-year declines.

Before the coronavirus struck the U.S. on a large scale, home sales in February – which enjoyed an extra weekend day for Leap Year – increased 7.5% year over year, following strong increases of 13.5% and 10.5% in December and January. The previous streak of increasing year-over-year sales of three months or longer began in December 2015 and continued seven months into June 2016. That was also a period of large inventory declines, like the current stretch of year-over-year drops in inventory that is now at eight months.

February’s Median Sales Price of $260,000 posted a year-over-year increase of 7.9% – the 14th consecutive month where home prices have shot up.

In the nearly 12-year history of the report, three February records were set last month:

·       Fewest Months Supply of Inventory: 2.8

·       Fewest Days on Market: 60

·       Highest Median Sales Price: $260,000

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for February 2020

Member-brokers added 7,786 new listings to the MLS database during February. That was a jump of nearly 25% from the same month a year ago when record snow hindered activity. Compared to January, last month’s inventory improved by 1,269 listings for a gain of nearly 19.5%.

February’s new listings (7,786) were the highest since October, but they fell short of matching demand. Brokers reported 8,355 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) for a YOY gain of more than 21%.

Inventory remained tight. At month end, there were 7,655 active listings in the 23 counties included in the MLS report. That was a 32% drop from the year ago total of 11,275. All but two counties (San Juan and Douglas) reported declines. Thurston County had the largest year-over-year drop, at 45.7%, followed by Snohomish (down 42%) and King (down 40.7%).

There is only 1.45 months of supply area-wide, according to Northwest MLS data. It is even more sparse in the four-county Puget Sound region where there is barely over a month’s supply (1.1 months). Snohomish and Thurston counties had the distinction of having the sparsest inventory, with both areas reporting less than a month (0.93) of supply.

The Northwest MLS report shows the median price system-wide for the 5,265 homes and condos that sold in February rose 9.34% from a year ago, from $407,000 to $445,000. Thirteen counties reported double-digit increases, while four counties had price drops.

Source: NWMLS 3/5/20

RE/MAX National Housing Report for January 2020

Last month’s home sales posted the highest year-over-year gain for January in 11 years, increasing an average of 10.5% in the 54 metro areas covered by the report. Meanwhile, the 15.6% year-over-year drop in inventory was the largest decline since May 2017 and marked the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year shrinkage in the number of U.S. homes for sale.

Despite very low inventory, January and December (+13.5%) marked the first back-to-back months with double-digit year-over-year growth in home sales since June and July of 2015.

January’s Median Sales Price of $256,000 – though 3.4% below December – was 8.9% higher than January 2019 and extended the string of year-over-year price increases to 13 months.

In the nearly 12-year history of the report, three January records were set or tied last month:

·         Fewest Months Supply of Inventory: 3.1

·         Fewest Days on Market: 59 (tied with January 2019)

·         Highest Median Sales Price: $256,000

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