55% of homes under contract within 2 weeks, a new record

The median home sale price increased 15% year over year to $318,280, according to a new report from Redfin (redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage.

Below are other key housing market takeaways for more than 400 U.S. metro areas during the 4-week period ending January 24.

  • Pending home sales were up 30% year over year.
  • New listings of homes for sale were down 12% from a year earlier—the largest decline since May.
  • Active listings (the number of homes listed for sale at any point during the period) fell 35% from 2020 to a new all-time low.
  • 43% of homes that went under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market, well above the 35% rate during the same period a year ago. During the week ending January 24, this measure hit 55%—the highest point since at least 2012 (as far back as Redfin's data for this measure goes).
  • The average sale-to-list price ratio, which measures how close homes are selling to their asking prices, increased slightly to 99.3%—1.6 percentage points higher than a year earlier.
  • For the week ending January 24, the seasonally adjusted Redfin Homebuyer Demand Index—a measure of requests for home tours and other services from Redfin agents—was up 60% from pre-pandemic levels in January and February of 2020—the highest level on record.
  • Mortgage purchase applications decreased 4% week over week (seasonally adjusted) and were up 16% from a year earlier (unadjusted) during the week ending January 22. For the week ending January 28, 30-year mortgage rates declined to 2.73%.

"Buyers are incredibly hungry for listings, but unfortunately there isn't much to choose from, and that scarcity is making buyers all the more frenzied," said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. "As a result, the majority of the homes that hit the market are getting multiple offers right away. Not only do you have to be fast to win a home, you have to be prepared and resourceful. I recommend that buyers on a tight budget target homes that are priced 5 to 10 percent below their maximum price so they have room to increase their offer in a bidding war."

"The inventory is there; it's lying in wait," said Seattle Redfin real estate agent Scott Petrich. "Now that the end of the pandemic is in sight, people will gradually start listing homes for sale. And once more companies and workplaces start calling employees back to the office, some homebuyer demand will shift back toward apartments and townhomes. Right now all the pressure is on single-family, suburban homes."

Redfin

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