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New home listings up for second week

The number of new home listings increased for the second week in a row, according to realtor.com’s weekly data crunch, possibly indicating the 2021 home buying season could “show some signs of normalcy.”

Though the increase in listings is a welcome sign, the report says the uptick serves only to “slow the inventory decline,” adding that the total number of active listings is still 53% lower than one year ago. Zillow also released its Monthly Market Report which suggests the inventory crunch may be starting to turn around as record appreciation of home values makes it more enticing to sell.

Although continued demand for homes pushed total for-sale inventory down 1.1% in March, the monthly decline was the smallest seen since July, according to Zillow. That’s thanks to a rush of new inventory (rising 30% from late February to late March), which signals sellers are following the traditional pattern of listing their homes in spring.

According to realtor.com’s Chief Economist Danielle Hale, agents would be wise to encourage homeowners who are thinking about selling to list their homes now “before you have to worry about too many other sellers. “Hale said most of the new listings coming on the market are at higher price points. 

“The good news is that we’re also now seeing growth in lower price tiers, it’s just not as large as the growth in higher price tiers,” Hale said. “This is going to mean still very competitive market dynamics for homes priced under $200,000.”

Based on realtor.com’s analysis for the week ending April 17:

  • Median listing prices were up 17.2% year over year, marking 36 consecutive weeks of double-digit price growth. 
  • Mortgage rates have declined slightly in the last couple weeks and remain historically low, but are expected to increase later in the year; buyers who can find a home to purchase soon could lock in a lower rate than buyers who wait until later this year.
  • New listings, a measure of seller activity, were up 40% year over year, which is more than the 36% gain a week earlier. 
  • When compared to 2017 to 2019, March 2021 had roughly 117,000 fewer new listings, adding to the pre-existing gap of more than 200,000 fresh listings that would typically come to market in January/February. 
  • The total tracked active inventory continues to be less than half of what it was at the same time a year ago, down 53% year over year against lower early-pandemic levels.
  • On average, homes are selling 21 days faster than last year.

Additional data from realtor.com shows that now is the time for sellers to list their property: Sellers who list their homes now could see 5% less competition, sell eight days faster and get 11% more online page views than the average week. Data shows these factors could result in a 2% higher sales price — $7,500 more on a $370,000 sale. If inventory continues to increase and mortgage rates go up, sellers who wait to list could see their advantages wane later in the year. 

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