Housing MarketReal Estate

How the tables turn: Concessions offered in nearly 50% of home sales

Sellers gave concessions to homebuyers in 45.5% of home sales in the three months ending February 28, up from 31% a year ago

Homebuyers were doing just everything in their control to buy homes in 2021, offering over asking price or skipping inspections to seal the deal. However, the housing market has done a complete 180 since that point, and sellers are having to be more malleable these days. Case in point: Home sellers gave buyers concessions in 45.5% of home sales during the three months ending on February 28, according to a new Redfin report.

That’s an increase of over 31% compared to the same period in 2022 — and is also the highest share of concessions during any three-month period in the brokerage’s records, which date back to June 2020.

For the report, Redfin considered a concession to be anything the seller provided to help reduce the buyer’s total cost of purchasing the home outside of a lower sales price. In this case, concessions include the cost of repairs, money toward closing and mortgage-rate buydowns, among other things.

“Any home with a roof that’s over eight years old is just sitting— buyers don’t want to put any additional funds into repairs,” said Elena Fleck, a Redfin real estate agent based in Palm Beach, Florida. “I had a few sellers offer credits for new roofs to close the deal.”

Redfin also found that a large percentage of sellers are slashing their asking prices or accepting offers below the asking price. Nearly a quarter of home sales (25.2%) included both a concession and a final sale price below the list price during the three months ending on February 28.

“Buyers today are way more demanding and selective. They’re willing to wait to find the perfect house, which wasn’t the case during the pandemic homebuying boom,” Fleck said.

High mortgage rates and home prices have caused many buyers to pause their home buying plans, and, in turn, this trend has become increasingly common to help seal the deal with buyers. When the mortgage rate was hovering near 3%, the higher demand for homes tempered expectations for concessions. 

According to the report, pandemic boomtowns and coastal markets have seen the biggest increases in seller concessions recently due to rising interest rates and high home prices, which led to these markets to cool down “relatively quickly.” 

Seattle saw the biggest increase in seller concessions for the three months ending February 28. Sellers in Seattle gave concessions to buyers in more than half (51.6%) of all home sales during that period, up from 20.1% one year prior. Las Vegas, Denver, San Diego and Phoenix have also seen significant increases in seller concessions.

On the other hand, New York saw the lowest share of seller concessions during the same period, with just 16.7% of sellers giving concessions to buyers during that time. The rates of sellers offering concessions were also low during that time in San Jose, Boston, Philadelphia and Austin.