U.S. houses sold at fastest rate in 30 years

December 4, 2017 4:09 pm

Houses are being sold in the United States at the fastest rate in 30 years, new figures show.

A typical home spends just three weeks on the market. That is according to the annual report on homebuyers and sellers by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This was down from four weeks in the year ending June 2016 and 11 weeks in 2012.

The 2017 Profile of Buyers and Sellers features findings from about 8,000 homebuyers. They all purchased their home in the year ending in June. The time on market was the shortest time since the NAR report began including such data in 1987.

Buyers are snapping up homes quickly at a time when for-sale listings are in short supply, forcing them to compete. The number of available properties declined in September, according to NAR’s monthly report on existing home sales. This marks the 28th consecutive month of year-on-year decline in inventory.

In addition to moving fast, buyers also had to pay more to close the deal. Forty-two percent of buyers paid at least the listing price. This is the highest share since the NAR survey started keeping track in 2007.

NAR Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, says, “With the lower end of the market seeing the worst of the supply crunch, house hunters faced mounting odds in finding their first home. Multiple offers were a common occurrence, investors paying in cash had the upper hand, and prices kept climbing, which yanked homeownership out of reach for countless would-be buyers.”

Solid job prospects, higher incomes and improving credit conditions helped increase the share of single female buyers. At 18% it matched the highest since 2011.

In fact, single women were the second most common household buyer type behind married couples (65%). Despite earning less than single men on average, single women purchased more expensive homes. The overall share of single male buyers (7%) remained below unmarried couples (8%) for the second straight year.

Underscoring the supply and demand imbalances in many parts of the country, a record 42% of buyers paid the list price or higher for their home, which is up from a year ago (40%) and a high since tracking began in 2007.

“Many of those in the market to buy a home this year had little room to negotiate,” says Mr Yun. “Listings in the affordable price range drew immediate interest, and the winning offer often times had to waive some contingencies or come in at or above asking price to close the deal.”

Most buyers want a home in a suburb, small town or rural area (85%) with an urban one on 13% (14% in 2016). The majority (83%) of buyers purchased a detached single-family home, which for the third straight year remains the highest share since 2004 (87%). Purchases of multi-family homes, including townhouses and condos, were at 11%.

Source: https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/first-time-buyers-stifled-by-low-supply-affordability-2017-buyer-and-seller-survey