May 18, 2019

Home sales up 11.8%, new listings are being snapped up quickly


2019 NETAR President

The local housing market shook off March’s soft performance in April with an 11.8 percent residential sales increase and a 4.6 percent single-family average price increase.

Robust growth during February and April has boosted the region’s year-to-date single-family sales growth rate to 5.4 percent.

The single-family average sales price has seen a slower trend. The four-month  price growth rate is 2.9 percent.

Last month was the second month of the traditional prime home buying and selling season that extends through June. That’s when almost 40 percent of the local year’s sales are made. Although there are some lingering disrupters in the market trend indicators, April affirms the outlook that this year would be a lot like last year is on course.

During April we had 3.8 months of inventory, but there have been 3,046 new listings so far this year. The reason inventory is down is new pending sales numbers are almost as high as new listings.

Sellers of properties near or below the local single-family median listing price of $199,900 can expect strong demand due to increases in local wages, a robust job market, and continued low mortgage rates. By the way, the $199,900 median listing price is a recordfor our market. For the first time, the median is just below the $200,000 price range where almost 70 percent of all local resales are made.

The high end of the local market – listing $400,000 and above will have a tougher time so the bifurcation of the market will extend through this year and probably into 2020. That statement fits the model Lawrence Yun, chief economist and vice president for research at the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) outlines in his current market analysis. Yun also says there is pent up demand that has yet to be released in the market. Yun’s findings mirror the local dynamic.

 Although there is an increase in new home sales, it is not boosting the existing home for sale inventory enough to make an appreciable difference. Sales could pick up later this year and early next year with an anticipated increase in new home construction across the region. More information will be provided when first quarter new home permits data is available and when an anticipated announcement of the entry into the local market by one of the nation’s largest home builders is made.

During the coming weeks expect to hear reports that the housing market continues to cool off. That’s where the trend is pointing. The four-month resales growth rate this year is the weakest of the past four years.  But demand is high. So is consumer confidence. Local wages are also beginning to increase, and the job market continues slowly adding jobs. The biggest headwind is lack of inventory.

Buyers can expect continued strong competition for properties at or below the median price of $199,900. The median days in Realtor Property Resource® (RPR) for local single-family listings in April was 64 days. In March it was 83 days. Condo listings spent less time on the market last month. The median was 48 days, down from 74 days in March.  Examples of new listings being snapped up days or just a week are common – especially those that are competitively priced. These quick sales mean consumers partnered with professional Realtors® who have their fingers on the pulse of the market have the best choices to seize opportunities in today’s fast-paced and increasingly competitive market.