Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, there have been nearly 400,000 fewer homes listed than the same time period in 2019. That has created a large deficit in the housing supply at a time when consumers are rushing to buy. Home prices are increasing at double the pace of last year, and homes are selling 12 days faster than in 2019, according to realtor.com®’s Weekly Housing Report.
“Sellers are more reluctant to list their home, given the uncertainty over the economy and the pandemic environment,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®. “Buyers, on the other hand—especially hungry first-timers—remain largely unfazed by the challenges and are motivated by low mortgage rates and the fear of missing out on the right home.”
Further, the majority of sellers will go on to buy another home. “So even as new listings hit the market, another buyer is also added,” Vivas says. “Adding to the inventory issues, thousands of previously vacant homes, such as second homes and rentals, have been reoccupied by their owners during the pandemic, effectively taking them off the market.”
For the week ending Sept. 19, the number of homes on the market was down 39% compared to a year prior. Median listing prices are roaring ahead at a record pace, increasing 11.1% year over year and more than double January 2020’s price appreciation rate, realtor.com® reports.