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Housing Market Update: Home Prices Up 15%, Pending Sales Rise 32%

December 18, 2020 by 

New listings were up 13%, but the number of homes for sale fell 30% to a new all-time low.

Key housing market takeaways for 400+ U.S. metro areas during the 4-week period ending December 13:

  • The median home sale price increased 15% year over year to $322,616, the highest on record.
  • Pending home sales were up 32% year over year. In the single week ending December 13, pending sales were up 28% from the same week a year earlier.
  • New listings of homes for sale were up 13% from a year earlier.
  • Active listings (the number of homes listed for sale at any point during the period) fell 30% from 2019 to a new all-time low.
  • 39% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market. This measure has experienced some slight seasonal cooling, but is still well above the 26% it was at this same time a year ago.
  • The average sale-to-list price ratio, which measures how close homes are selling to their asking prices, rose to 99.5%—an all-time high and 1.5 percentage points higher than a year earlier.
  • For the week ending December 13, the seasonally adjusted Redfin Homebuyer Demand Index—a measure of requests for home tours and other services from Redfin agents—was up 32% from pre-pandemic levels in January and February. The fact that the Demand Index has held relatively steady since July indicates that there is no shortage of people interested in buying homes. Instead, a decline in the number of listings may be restricting actual sales.
  • Mortgage purchase applications increased 2% week over week (seasonally-adjusted) and were up 26% from a year earlier (unadjusted) during the week ending December 11. For the week ending December 17, 30-year mortgage rates fell to 2.67%, another new all-time low. Rates have been below 3% since late July.

“At a time of year when the housing market usually goes into hibernation, homebuyers are doing anything but hibernate,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “With the coronavirus vaccine set to roll out just as the housing market typically kicks into full gear, a combination of seasonality and the pandemic’s final chapter is likely to keep the housing market hot well into 2021.”

Home Sale Prices at All-Time High, Up 15%

Pending Sales Up 32% From a Year Earlier

New Listings of Homes Up 13% From Last Year

Active Listings of Homes For Sale Down 30% From 2019

39% of Pending Sales Under Contract Within Two Weeks

Sale-to-List Price Ratio Climbed to 99.5%

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Tim Ellis

Tim Ellis has been analyzing the real estate market since 2005, and worked at Redfin as a housing market analyst from 2010 through 2013 and again starting in 2018. In his free time, he runs the independently-operated Seattle-area real estate website Seattle Bubble, and produces the “Dispatches from the Multiverse” improvised comedy sci-fi podcast.

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