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February 2020 Monthly Housing Market Trends Report: Stage is Set for Competitive Spring Home Buying Season

Monday, March 9, 2020   /   by Ken Couture

February 2020 Monthly Housing Market Trends Report: Stage is Set for Competitive Spring Home Buying Season

Realtor.com®’s February data release reveals that the U.S. housing market continued to tighten as the inventory of for-sale homes continued to evaporate and home prices rose. However, it remains to be seen if new concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus domestically will dampen what is shaping up to be a competitive home-buying season.


 


The total number of homes available for sale continues to decline at an accelerating pace. Nationally, inventory decreased 15.3 percent in year-over-year in February, a faster rate of decline compared to the 13.6 percent year-over-year drop in January and the largest year-over-year decline since realtor.com began tracking inventory data. This amounted to a loss of 184,000 listings compared to February of last year, and inventory is now at its lowest since realtor.com began tracking in 2012. The volume of newly listed properties in February has also declined by 2.7 percent since last year, although an improvement to the 10.7 percent decline seen in January. 


 


Housing inventory in the 50 largest U.S. metros declined by 16.3 percent year-over-year in February, a boon for sellers who will draw more attention to their properties, but adds to homebuyer struggles. The metros which saw the biggest declines in inventory were Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ (-42.7 percent); San Diego-Carlsbad, CA (-36.6%); and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (-36.2 percent). Only two of the 50 metros saw inventory increase over the year: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI (+12.2 percent); and San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX (+2.6 percent). 


 


As inventory has reached its lowest point on record, the typical property is selling more quickly than last year. Nationally, homes sold in 80 days in February, three days more quickly than February of last year. In the 50 largest U.S. metros, the typical home sold five days more quickly than last year. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT; Raleigh, NC;  and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV; saw the largest decreases in days on market with properties spending 22, 18, and 16 fewer days on the market than last year, respectively. Meanwhile, properties in Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA; Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO; San Diego-Carlsbad, CA  sold 10, 6, and 4 days more slowly, respectively. 


 


The median U.S. listing price grew by 3.9 percent, to $310,000  in February, which is a slight acceleration compared to last month, when the median listing price grew by 3.4 percent over the year. In February, listing prices in the largest metros grew by 6.5 percent, on average.


 


Of the largest 50 metros, 45 saw year-over-year gains in median listing prices. ; and  Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (+17.3 percent); Rochester, NY (+15.0 percent); and Pittsburgh, PA (+14.3 percent) posted the highest year-over-year median list price growth in February. The steepest price declines were seen in Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI (-3.4 percent); Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN (-1.9 percent); and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland, TX (-1.5 percent). However, Houston and Louisville saw yearly declines decelerate compared to last month.


 


In February, 15.5 percent of active listings saw their listing prices reduced. The share of listings with reduced prices remained the same compared to last year. Among the nation’s largest markets, 22 still saw an increase in their share of price reductions compared to last year. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA saw the greatest increase in price reductions in February, up 13.9 percent. It was followed by Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN (+7.9 percent) and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA (+7.4 percent). 


 


Greatest Declines in Inventory – Metro Level 


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