By Jeffery Marino
Another month, another record. In September, the latest data available, the median sale price for a house in NELA continued its steep climb, rising 14% year-over-year, to $1.065 million. September was the eighth straight month of double-digit annual price growth.
Prices are up because inventory is low and falling. The supply of NELA homes for sale in September was down 26% year-over-year. That’s the biggest annual decline in the number of homes for sale since April 2020, when potential sellers, spooked by the pandemic lockdown, held off putting their homes on the market.
Why is inventory falling? It’s not because sellers are reluctant to list their houses for sale. It’s because houses are selling faster than sellers can list them. Median days-on-market in September was 35, which was 6 days faster than the same time last year and the fastest September on record since 2018.
A word about the data: The September figures show that new listings in NELA fell by 14% year-over-year. But that 14% decline is from an unusually high number of new listings in September 2020, when home sellers who had stayed on the sidelines because of the lockdown flooded back into the market. Compared to the sky-high number of new listings in September 2020, the reasonably robust number of listings in September 2021 looks weak. But it’s not. Sellers are listing their properties and buyers are snatching them up as fast as they can.
Predictably, competition among buyers is pushing up prices. In September, the sale-to-list ratio – which measures the sale price of a home compared to the asking price – was 107.8%. That’s a bit less that the sale-to-list ratio in recent months, but still five points higher than it was a year ago.
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