On the heels of a summer home-buying season marked by record demand and sky-high prices, the residential real estate market is shaping up for its hottest fall in a decade, according to new monthly data on inventory and demand. Homes for sale in September are moving 4 percent more quickly than last year as prices continue to hit new highs.
The median age of listings—an indication of market inventory—in September is expected to be 77 days, three days less than one year ago. That is five days more than last month, a change which reflects the housing market’s typical seasonal slowdown as summer ends and schools resume. Total inventory remains considerably lower than a year ago, with less than 450,000 new listings entering the market in September.
The median home was listed for $250,000, 9 percent more than a year ago and unchanged from last month. That continues this year’s record-setting trend and marks a new high for September.
House hunters who were shut out this summer because of fierce competition could fare better this fall, with more opportunities to buy and mortgage rates still near all-time lows. But don’t expect bargains—prices haven’t come down from this summer’s record highs. Overall, the fundamental trends we have been seeing all year remain solidly in place as we enter the traditionally slower sales season, and pent-up demand remains substantial as buyers seek to get a home under contract while rates remain so low.