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Housing market begins ’22 with lower inventory, higher prices

Median home sales price rose 14% year over year

Since the calendar turned to 2022, the real estate industry has witnessed a 12% drop in the number of new listings and a 14% increase in median home sales price compared to a year ago, according to a housing market report by Redfin released Thursday.

During the four-week period ending January 16, the median home sales price rose to $358,500, with 41% of homes selling for above list price, up from 33% during the same time period a year ago. The percentage of homes for sale that underwent price drops also increased slightly year over year, rising 0.3 percentage points to 2.4%. Overall, the average sale-to-list price ratio was 100.3%. Meanwhile, the median asking price of a newly listed home rose 12% year over year to $349,950.

Due to the drop in new listings, the total number of homes for sale dropped 29% to 445,000. Pending sales were also constrained by low inventory, rising just 1% year over year. However, there should be more new construction homes hitting the market in the coming months, with the number of housing starts and building permits issued increasing to a nine-month high in December.

“There is very little for sale right now, so nearly every new listing that’s priced fairly and is in good condition gets multiple offers,” Niko Voutsinas, a Chicago-based Redfin real estate agent, said in a statement. “Labor and material shortages are limiting the supply of new construction, but also increasing buyers’ appetite for homes that are move-in ready. They don’t want to deal with any hassles of trying to find contractors to make improvements, so they’re willing to pay a premium for homes that don’t need any work.”

Of the homes that went under contract during this time period, the report found that 41% had an accepted offer within its first two weeks on the market, up from 36% a year earlier, and 32% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within one week, up from 27% a year ago.

In addition, the median number of days a home sat on the market was at 28, down from 35 days a year prior.

But for weary homebuyers there is some good news in such a challenging housing market: as expected, mortgage rates are on the rise, which experts believe may become more of a deterrent than a motivator for buyers.

“2022 started off more competitive than 2021, but mortgage rates have now risen enough that they may become more of a deterrent than a motivator for homebuyers,” Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said in a statement. “In the next few weeks we may start to see signs that some buyers are backing off. This is the silver lining for the most committed homebuyers who may benefit from less intense competition in this supply-constrained market.”