Bump in Home Listings Is Good News for U.S. Buyers Who Have the Money to Act

Bump in Home Listings Is Good News for U.S. Buyers Who Have the Money to Act

  • Tracey Ross
  • 03/17/24

The good news: More people in the U.S. are listing their homes. The bad news: Buyers still face affordability challenges. 

Although new listings are up 13% from a year ago, home prices and mortgage rates continue to assert pressure on potential buyers.

The median U.S. monthly housing payment was $2,686 during the four weeks ending Sunday. That’s only $30 below the all-time high, according to a report Thursday from Redfin. A combination of high mortgage rates and rising prices are contributing factors.

While mortgage rates fell slightly this past week after increasing for four straight weeks, they’re still close to 7%. And there isn’t much hope in sight.

“Mortgage rates are likely to stay high a little longer than expected, with the latest inflation report essentially eliminating any chance of the Fed cutting interest rates before June,” said Chen Zhao, Redfin’s economic research lead in the report.

To worsen matters for buyers, sale prices are up 5% year over year nationwide. For the first time since July 2022, median sale prices increased in each of the 50 of the most populous U.S. metro areas. San Jose, California, saw the greatest increase at 16.3%, followed by Newark, New Jersey (15.1%); Boston (14.9%); West Palm Beach, Florida (14.8%); and Fort Lauderdale, Florida (13.8%).

High housing costs are pricing out some potential home buyers. Pending sales were down 6% from a year earlier. However, as supply increases, home hunters seem to be preparing to make a move—mortgage-purchase applications rose for the second week in a row.

Those who can afford the hefty price tags will be the ones benefiting most this spring. They will have more homes to choose from, with new listings up 13%. That is the biggest annual increase in nearly three years. The total number of homes for sale likewise rose; the 3% increase is the largest gain in nine months.

“Buyers who can afford to may want to get serious about their home search now, as housing costs are unlikely to fall anytime soon,” Zhao said. “There’s more to choose from, and improving inventory may bring out more competition from other buyers as we get further into spring. Some buyers have already gotten the memo, with mortgage applications finally increasing after weeks of declines.”

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