Home Inventory Hits All-Time Low Rolling Into Pandemic’s 2nd Hot Winter

Fewer homes were available in November than in any period on record, driving prices 15 percent higher than last year, Redfin reports.

Home inventory has grown even more scarce as the number of houses on the market reached an all-time low last month, Redfin reports.

The seasonally adjusted number of homes for sale was 18 percent lower in November than it was at the same time last year, according to a new report from Redfin’s data team.

This tighter inventory was part of a broader picture that drove home prices 15 percent higher than their November 2020 levels, reaching a median sale price of $383,100 in November.

“I wish I had better news for homebuyers this holiday season, but in many ways the housing market is more challenging than ever,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in the report. “At least buyers have the benefit of low mortgage rates. But by next year, inflation may spread to more consumer goods.” 

For the second consecutive year, these numbers defy traditional expectations of a steep seasonal slowdown in the home market in the late fall and winter months. 

For well over a year, the pandemic’s disruptions — and the low mortgage rates that have accompanied them — have driven an extraordinary level of activity as new buyers entered the market and sellers looked to take advantage of sky-high prices.

Still, there were signs that the market might be easing off the gas.

Homes spent an average of 22 days on the market in November, Redfin reports. They were selling a week faster on average than the same time last year, but also a week slower on average than they were during the frenzied month of June. 

Homes were also a bit less likely to sell above list price last month. Approximately 44 percent of homes sold above list price in November, the result of a significant decline from 56 percent in June. Sale-to-list price ratio remained above 100 percent nationwide, but had declined a full 2 percentage points from June.

In the long run, rising mortgage rates and inflation levels could place downward pressure on home price growth, Fairweather said in the report.

“So even though our new year’s forecast includes more listings and slower home-price growth, buyers may feel so pinched by other expenses that they have to reduce their housing budgets,” Fairweather said in the statement.

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