AgentReal Estate

Homebuyers gain more bargaining power in August

But median purchase price still 6% higher than a year ago

As demand has cooled, homebuyers in many markets have regained some bargaining power. During the four-week period ending Aug. 28, the average sale-to-list price ratio fell to 99.8%, according to a report from Redfin released Thursday.

A year ago, the sale-to-list price ratio was 101.4%. This is the first time the sale-to-list price ratio has fallen below 100% since March 2021.

Overall, the report found that just 37% of homes sold for above list price, compared to 50% a year ago. In addition, on average, 7.5% of homes for sale each week had a price drop, same as the previous four week period.

“Homebuyers’ budgets are increasingly stretched thin by rising rates and ongoing inflation, so sellers need to make their homes and their prices attractive to get buyers’ attention during this busy time of year,” Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist said in a statement.

Sellers’ attempts to price their homes more attractively can be seen in the 5.8% drop in median asking price from the record high set in May, to $379,194. However, this asking price is still 9% higher than a year ago.

Growth in the median sales price of homes has also slowed, rising just 6% year over year to $370,000, and down 6% from the record high of $395,373 set during the four-week period ending June 19. Honolulu, and two California metro areas, Oakland and San Francisco, saw their median sales price drop on an annual basis, falling 3.6% to $676,875 in Honolulu, 0.5% to $937,500 in Oakland, and 3.9% to $1.45 million in San Francisco.  

As buyer demand has cooled and sellers are unable to get as high prices for their homes, many are choosing to not list their home. During the four-week period, the number of new listings dropped 16% compared to a year ago. This is the largest year-over-year decline since May 2020. As a result, the number of active listings fell 0.9% from the prior four-week period. However, this metric is still up 4.2% compared to a year ago.

Despite the overall slowdown, homes are still selling at a fairly rapid pace, with the median number of days on market at 26 days, up slightly from 21 days a year ago under much hotter market conditions. During the four-week period, 35% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within their first two weeks on the market, down from 43% a year prior, while 24% had an accepted offer within one week, down from 30% a year ago.

“While the cooldown appears to be tapering off, there are signs that there is more room for the market to ease,” Fairweather said. “The post-Labor Day slowdown will likely be a little more intense this year than in previous years when the market was super tight. Expect homes to linger on the market, which may lead to another small uptick in the share of sellers lowering their prices.”