As Inventory Rises, June Home Sales Post Year’s Highest Mark But Trail 2021
Halfway through the peak summer buying season, this year’s home sales are falling short of 2021’s, as signs of more balance in the market take hold.
• June posted the most home sales of any month thus far this year, topping May by 4.7% but falling 17.6% short of June 2021. • Inventory grew for a third consecutive month by a whopping 34.1% over May and 27.5% year over year. • While up 11% year over year, the Median Sales Price of $428,000 inched just 0.6% above May’s.
Bolstering the inventory was a 7.7% increase in new listings month over month, which was an increase of 1.6% over June 2021. Months Supply of Inventory jumped from 0.9 in May to 1.4 in June. A year ago, Months Supply of Inventory was 1.0.
May Home Sales Down Year Over Year
as Inventory Grows
Although May is one of the most active months of the year for home sales, closings in May 2022 were 8.5% lower than May 2021. They did, however, climb 5.8% over April. That month-over-month increase was approximately half of the average gain in May during the pre-pandemic years of 2015-2019.
After a long decline, inventory grew for the second consecutive month, making May the first month of 2022 to top inventory levels compared to one year ago. May ended with 16.3% more homes for sale than in April, and 2.2% more than May 2021. Months Supply of Inventory increased from 0.8 in April to 0.9 in May. A year ago, Months Supply of Inventory was 1.0.
The Median Sales Price of $430,000 grew 1.2% over April’s $425,000 and was 13.2% higher than the $380,000 recorded in May 2021. The average Close-to-List Price Ratio in May was 103%, meaning that homes sold for 3% more than the asking price. That compared to nearly 104% last month and 102% in May 2021.
Homes spent an average of 23 days on the market in May. They sold three days faster than in April, and two days faster than a year ago.
Competitive Spring Market Greets Buyers
and Sellers with More Listings, Higher Prices
Signaling a flattening of the seasonal spring ramp-up, April 2022 home sales increased less than 1% over March – and dropped 12.8% year over year – across the report’s 53 metro areas. That, coupled with an 11.5% increase in new listings from March to April, resulted in a 24.0% surge in inventory month to month.
The Median Sales Price of $420,000 was up 3.4% over March and 15.1% over April 2021. And home offers grew more competitive. For example, average sale to list price ratio measures how close homes are selling to their asking price and in April, the average sale to list price ratio was 104% of the list price, compared to 103% in March and 101% in April 2021.
Though up 24.0% month over month, active inventory was down 10.4% from a year ago, driven in part by a 7.4% decline in new listings year over year. Months Supply of Inventory increased from 0.7 in March to 0.8 in April. A year ago, Months Supply of Inventory was 1.0.
Homes spent an average of 26 days on the market in April – five days less than March, and two days less than a year ago.
Home Prices Rise 3%, Closings Dip 1%
Ahead of Anticipated Spring Surge
February home sales dipped nearly 1% from January, potentially setting the stage for what is typically the year’s biggest month-over-month ramp-up in sales as March typically is considered the start of the spring home-selling season. And while the number of homes on the market remained at record lows, February’s month-over-month decline in inventory of 6.8% was the smallest such decrease in five months.
At the same time, home prices across the report’s 51 metro areas started to move upward again after experiencing no such increase in January and four small monthly declines in the second half of 2021. February’s Median Sales Price of $345,000 – the highest in report history – was three percent higher than January’s and 17.3% above a year ago. Only three months in 2021 – March (4.5%), April (5.9%) and June (4.9%) – saw prices increase at a higher rate.
Despite declining 4.7% year-over-year, February’s slight month-over-month drop in sales of 0.9% was in sharp contrast to an average increase of 4.4% from January to February over the past five years (2017-2021). Currently underway, March home sales typically produce the largest monthly increase in closings each year. From 2015-2019, sales rose an average of 35% month over month from February to March, while the second-highest average month-over-month increase was just 14% from April to May.
Inventory declined 6.8% from January to February following double-digit declines the previous four months and was down 28.9% from February of 2021. Months Supply of Inventory dropped to 1.2, compared to 1.3 in January and 1.8 a year ago.
Prices Remain Steady as Home Sales Decline Seasonally and Inventory Stays Low
January home sales dropped 31.4% from December’s total – a decrease slightly more than the seasonal norm – as inventory shrank for the sixth consecutive month. Year over year, sales were down 5.3% from January 2021.
A December-to-January decline in home sales is typical and expected. In the past five years (2017-2021), the average drop in home sales between the two months was 28.0%.
Across the 51 metro areas in the report, the Median Sales Price remained steady as January was the second month in a row of little-to-no month-over-month price increase. January’s Median Sales Price equaled December’s $335,000, which was only $5,000 below the report’s all-time high of $340,000 set in October 2021. However, year-over year price increases remain steep as January’s price was 15.9% higher than a year ago.
Inventory remains historically low. November, December and January have each reset the mark for lowest inventory (in terms of units) in the last five years. Similarly, January’s 1.2 Months Supply of Inventory matched the low reached in May 2021. There were 1.9 months supply of inventory a year ago.
Strong December Caps 2021 As Busiest Home-Buying Year in Report History
Near-record December home sales cemented 2021 as the busiest year for home buying in the 14-year history of the report, while also setting records for smallest inventory and highest average home prices. On an annual basis, 2021 finished with nearly 10% more home sales than the previous record year of 2020.
Across the 51 metro areas in the report, December 2021 home sales were the second highest for the month in report history, trailing only December 2020. Despite the strength in home sales, December sales defied recent month-over-month moves. December 2021 home sales were actually down 0.8% from November, which had an unusually high total. In contrast, the November-to-December average change for the five-year period from 2015-2019 was an increase of 3.5%.
December home transactions could have been even stronger had it not been for record-low inventory. The year 2021 ended with the smallest number of homes for sale in the 14-year history of the report. December inventory dropped 23.6% from November – the previous record low – and 33.3% year over year. The 10 months with the lowest inventory in report history all occurred in 2021.
December’s 1.2 Months Supply of Inventory was an all-time low and tied the report record set in May 2021. There were two months supply of inventory a year ago. Homes spent an average of 31 days on the market in December – two more than November, but seven less than a year ago.
At the same time, December’s Median Sales Price of $335,000 was up 1.4% over November and 11.5% year over year. The November-to-December increase is slightly higher than the 1.2% average for the five-year period from 2015-2019. While the highest average sale price of the year typically is reached in early or mid-summer, October’s $340,000 was the highest in 2021 and in report history.
Median Price Drops 3% Amid Seasonally Cooling
Home Sales and Record Low Inventory
The historically strong housing market continued to surge forward in November, as buyers gobbled up available homes seemingly as soon as they hit the market. Buyers finally saw some welcome relief on prices, with November’s Median Sales Price dropping 2.9% to $330,000 – the largest monthly decline since the pandemic began. And home sales declined only 4.9% from October, far less than the normal seasonal decrease of 12.0% this time of year. Adding to the complex conditions, the number of homes for sale fell to a new low in the 14-year history of the report, declining 17.7% from October.
Overall, November generally followed seasonal trends while at the same time setting records for the month of November in almost every category, such as the fewest average number of days homes were listed before selling. While November’s average of 29 days was two more than October’s, it was only the sixth month in report history with an average below 30. All six months have occurred consecutively, starting with June 2021.
November’s Median Sales Price across the report’s 51 metro areas dropped $10,000 below October’s $340,000, falling 2.9%. That was the largest month-to-month drop since January 2020, when the median price declined 3.4%. And while price drops are typical in January, they are unusual in November. Based on report averages for the five-year period from 2015-2019 (excluding 2020 because of pandemic impacts), the median November price rose an average of 0.9%.
October Homes Sales See Atypical Drop,
Squeezed by High Median Price,
Pinched between a steep median sales price of $336,000 and record low inventory, October home sales tumbled 6.4% from September – almost double the typical seasonal decline. September had near-record sales, which also contributed to the steepness of the month-over-month sales decrease.
October’s inventory dropped 12.7% from September to the fifth-lowest level in the report’s 14-year history, and October’s 1.3 Months Supply of Inventory tied for second lowest in report history, alongside July and August of this year.
September-to-October averages for 2015-2019 illustrate what’s typical in the fall. With just two months of home sales remaining, the fall of 2021 is mirroring seasonal norms in many ways, unlike 2020, but the lack of inventory amid strong demand is exacerbating those moves. For example, the drop in home sales of 6.4% from September was nearly twice the 2015-2019 average decline of 3.3%. Year over year, sales were down 10.2%.
Also, reflecting both the number of homes coming on the market and the speed of sales, the 12.7% month-over-month drop in active inventory was more than double the 2015-2019 September-to-October average decline of 5.3%. Inventory was down 28% year-over-year and has declined month over month in all but June and July this year.
One exception is the Median Sales Price, which rose 0.8% from September, in contrast to the average September-to-October drop of 1.3% in 2015-2019. The Median Sales Price is up 11.8% over October 2020. October’s Median Sales Price of $336,000 tied the record set in June 2021. Home prices have now increased year over year for 34 consecutive months.
September Home Sales Down Slightly as Inventory Challenges Persist
With three-quarters of the year complete, 2021 is mirroring seasonal norms, unlike 2020, but maintaining strong momentum. September home sales dropped 7.0% from August’s total and the Median Sales Price slipped 1.1% to $329,000 – both far less than the typical drop-offs as summer gives way to fall.
With abnormally high second-half home sales in 2020 skewing year-over-year comparisons, August-to-September averages for 2015-2019 illustrate what’s typical in late summer-early fall:
• The drop in home sales of 7.0% from August was less than half of the 2015-2019 average decline of 15.3%. Year over year, sales were down 4.2%.
• The month-over-month Median Sales Price decline of 1.1% was one-third of the 2015-2019 average August-to-September drop of 3.4%. Year over year, the Median Sales Price is up 12.5%, with September being the fourth highest in report history. Home prices have increased year over year for 33 consecutive months.
• Reflecting both the number of homes coming on the market and the velocity of sales, the 4.9% month-over-month drop in active inventory was more than double the 2015-2019 average August-to-September decline of 2.3%. Inventory was down 23.6% year-over-year. Nine months into 2021, inventory has declined month over month in all but June and July.
Dips in Home Sales and Prices
Mirror Traditional Late-Summer Moves
August home sales dropped 3.5% from July’s total – and the Median Sale Price slipped 1.2% to $335,000 – as seasonal norms signaled that 2021’s busiest homebuying and selling months are probably behind us. Despite these drops, August still almost broke records for home sales signaling a still-hot market.
August’s low number of Days on Market (24) and meager Months Supply of Inventory (1.3) reversed two months of inventory gains as strong demand amid tight inventory conditions persisted.
With year-over-year comparisons skewed by the pandemic, July-to-August averages for 2015-2019 illustrate what’s typical in late summer:
• The month-over-month decline of 1.2% in August’s Median Sales Price compares with the 2015-2019 average July-to-August drop of 1.0%. Year over year, the Median Sales Price is up 13.2%.
• The 6.2% month-over-month drop in active inventory was nearly double the 2015-2019 average July-to-August decline of 3.3%. Inventory is down 26.7% year-over-year.
• Home sales dropped 3.5% from July, compared to the 2015-2019 average decline of 2.1%. However, August home sales were one of the largest totals of any month in the 13-year history of the report and the second-largest for the month and year over year, sales were up 0.6%.
August’s average Days on Market of 24 was one day more than July and reflected sales that were 18 days faster, on average, than in August 2020. The Months Supply of Inventory in August of 1.3 declined from July’s 1.5 and was significantly less than August 2020’s 1.9 Months Supply.