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U.S. housing market starts 2022 with record low inventory

Number of active listings falls below 500,000

For the first time since Redfin began recording in 2012, nationwide active listings fell below 500,000 to 482,000 during the four-week period that ended Jan. 2, , according to a report released on Thursday. This is a 27% decrease from a year prior.

In addition, the number of newly listed homes for sale fell 10% year over year.

“We’re kicking off yet another year with a whole lot of buyers whose home search has been ongoing for months, and they are as eager as ever,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in a statement. “This month, the stage will be set for the 2022 housing market, and we’ll be closely watching whether prices climb like they usually do in January or whether they start off high and stagnate due to rising mortgage rates.”

During this time period, the median home sales price rose 14% year over year to $358,460 and the median asking price of a newly listed home increased 12% to $341,200. The percentage of homes that sold above also increased from a year prior — to 41% from 33%. However, the percentage of homes seeing price decreases also increased. On average, 2.4% of listings for sale each week during this time period had a price drop. Overall, the average sale-to-list price ratio was 100.3%.

Another result of the low inventory/high demand conditions is the decrease in the median number of days a home that sold sat on the market. A year ago, this number was at 34 days, but during the four-week period ending Jan. 2, it was 27 days. Of the homes that sold during this time period, 40% had an accepted offer within their first two weeks on the market.

Homebuyers, however, do have some reasons to be optimistic. As we head into spring, agents are expecting more listings to come on the market.

“I’ve already been hearing from Redfin agents in extremely supply-constrained markets like Austin that they are getting more interest than usual from homeowners about selling early this year,” Fairweather said in a statement. “A lot of these people spent the last couple months getting their homes spruced up and ready to list. This gives me hope that more sellers will be motivated to take action now that the new year has arrived.”