U.S home buyers are out in force, pushing prices to a record high in February.
Prices have been rising at a double-digit pace across the country, with the U.S. median listing price hitting a record $392,000 in February, according to a report Thursday from Realtor.com. That’s up 12.9% annually and 26.6% compared to February 2020.
It’s one of several price records broken in the last few years, but marks the first time a new benchmark has been set so early in the year.
“Over the last five years, we have seen home prices break records early in the season as buyers try to get ahead of the competition,” Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist, said in the report. “But this is the first time the record has been broken in February, signaling that competition is already heating up weeks before the start of the spring buying season in a typical year.”
On the other hand, one could argue that the competition has been hot for the better part of the last two years. That’s obvious in the ongoing inventory issues throughout the U.S. Active listings fell by 24.5% year over year in February, according to the report, which looks at data from the 50 largest U.S. metro areas. That number is down 62.6% compared to the same time in 2020, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is some hope in new listings data, however. Newly listed homes ticked down only 0.5%—0.7% for large metros—in February, compared to the previous month, the report said. New listings were down 14.5% year over year.
“While the number of homes on the market remains woefully behind buyer demand, in February we saw declines in new listings improve for the first time since November 2021, indicating potential hope on the horizon,” Ms. Hale continued. “Whether inventory continues to improve will depend on a variety of economic and geopolitical factors, including the conflict in Ukraine and mortgage rate hikes, which haven’t impacted home sales or price growth so far, but will increasingly lessen buyers’ purchasing power.”
Regionally, the biggest gains in price were in the south, where prices were up 12.5% year over year, followed by the west, with an annual gain of 12.1%, the figures show.
In addition, a number of cities saw price gains of more than 30% last month, including Las Vegas (39.6%), Miami (31.6%) and Tampa, Florida (31.5%).
Article Source: Mansion Global