The latest market report from Zillow delivered a pleasant surprise for home shoppers in August – an uptick of new listings. Although sellers are still listing fewer houses than pre-pandemic norms, new listings rose in August, up about 4% more than in July. This means homebuyers have some more new options in the midst of a long-standing drought of inventory.
“The inventory crunch is still far from resolved, but this was a small step in the right direction,” says Jeff Tucker, Zillow senior economist.
Sellers listed nearly 350,000 homes for sale across the U.S. in August. Although the number of new listings are more than 20% below pre-pandemic norms, the uptick gave shoppers a few fresh choices at a time of year when the flow of inventory is typically drying up; new listings have contracted every August in Zillow data going back to 2018. The slight upward bump helped to halve an annual deficit in new listings, from -26% year over year in July to -13% in August.
Homeowners who bought or refinanced to ultra-low mortgage rates in 2020 or 2021 have been loath to sell, which has kept new listings at seasonal record lows (with the exception of April 2020) for 14 straight months. Total inventory also ticked up in August, rising 2.2% from July. However, inventory levels are still about 42% below that of August 2019.
Heading into fall, shoppers can generally expect more modest price growth and less competition compared to the peak seasons of spring and early summer — and that’s what Zillow data is showing.
The typical U.S. home value climbed 0.2% from July to August — a marked cool down after red-hot monthly appreciation in the spring and early summer. The nation’s typical home value has reached another all-time high at $351,423, and stands 1.3% higher than last August.
Home values climbed month over month in 32 of the 50 largest metro areas in August, led by Hartford, Conn., Buffalo, N.Y., San Diego, Cleveland and Providence, R.I. Values fell from July to August in 12 major metro areas, most notably in Austin, Texas, New Orleans, San Antonio, Denver and Dallas.
As is usually the case at this time of year, price cuts on listings are becoming more and more common by the month, and buyers are getting a bit more time to decide on a house. Listings in August took a median of 13 days to go pending — one day longer than in July.
Sales activity decreased as well: There were 19% fewer newly pending listings in August than last year, compared to a roughly 15% year-over-year dip in July.
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