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Home Sales Post Largest Monthly Decline Since May 2020

David Krechevsky
Jan 17, 2022
Photo of new homes being constructed. Credit: iStockphoto.com/jhorrocks.

Lack of inventory cited as December 2021 home sales fall 3.6% from November and 11% from last year.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • The December sale decline was the largest month-over-month decline since May 2020.
  • Home prices, meanwhile, surged 15% from a year earlier, the 17th consecutive month of double-digit increases.
  • Only one of the 88 largest metros tracked by Redfin posted a year-over-year increase in the number of seasonally adjusted active listings of homes for sale: Detroit (+4%).

Fewer homes were for sale in December, driving seasonally adjusted home sales down 3.6%, according to a new report from Redfin

The technology-powered real estate brokerage said the December sale decline was the largest month-over-month decline since May 2020.

Home prices, meanwhile, surged 15% from a year earlier, the 17th consecutive month of double-digit increases.

“Home sales are slumping, but not for lack of demand,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “There are plenty of homebuyers on the hunt, but there is just nothing for sale. In many markets, shopping for a home feels like going to the grocery store only to find the shelves bare.”

Fairweather added that he expects to see more buyers and sellers in the market this month, but added that demand will increase more than supply, which will boost prices to start the year.

Median sale prices increased from a year earlier in all but one of the 88 largest metro areas Redfin tracks, the company said. The only metro area with a decrease was Bridgeport, Conn., where home prices fell 0.4% from a year earlier following a 28% year-over-year increase in December 2020. The largest price increases were in Austin, Texas (+30%), North Port, Fla. (+28%) and Phoenix (+28%).

Seasonally adjusted home sales in December were down 3.6% from a month earlier and 11% from a year earlier, the largest annual decline since June 2020. Home sales fell from the prior year in 79 of the 88 largest metro areas Redfin tracks. The biggest sales declines were seen in Nassau County, N.Y. (-22%), New Brunswick, N.J. (-22%) and Albany, N.Y. (-21%). The largest gains were in Greenville, S.C. (+9%), Greensboro, N.C. (+8%) and Baton Rouge, La. (+7%).

Only one of the 88 largest metros tracked by Redfin posted a year-over-year increase in the number of seasonally adjusted active listings of homes for sale: Detroit (+4%). The biggest year-over-year declines in active housing supply in December were in Baton Rouge, La. (-52%), San Jose, Calif. (-49%) and San Francisco (-46%).

Seasonally adjusted new listings of homes for sale were down 13% in December from a year earlier, the largest decline since May 2020. New listings fell from a year ago in 82 of the 88 largest metro areas.

The typical home that sold in December went under contract in 24 days — a week faster than a year earlier, when homes sold in a median 31 days, but up nine days from the record low of 15 days in June, Redfin said.

In December, 43% of homes sold above list price, down 14 percentage points from the record high in June, but up 9 percentage points from a year earlier. The average sale-to-list price ratio in December was 100.5%, down from a record high of 102.6% in June but up from 99.4% a year earlier.

You can read the full report here.

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