Fewer homes than ever were for sale in December, leading to a 3.6% decline in seasonally adjusted home sales, according to a new report from Redfin, the tech-focused real estate brokerage. This is the largest month-over-month decline in sales since May 2020. Home prices jumped 15% from a year earlier, the 17th consecutive month of double-digit increases .
“Home sales are collapsing, but not for lack of demand,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “There are a lot of home buyers looking, but there’s just nothing to sell. In many markets, shopping for a home feels like going to the grocery store and finding the shelves bare. In January, I expect to see more buyers and sellers in the market, but demand will increase more than supply, which will push prices higher at the start of this year.
“The wild real estate market hasn’t paused over the holidays,” said San Francisco-area Redfin real estate agent Brionna Chang. “There was a two-bedroom house in Orinda that was listed just before Christmas, and about 40 people immediately came to the open house. It ended up receiving several offers and went for $325,000 above the asking price of $1.2 million.
Median selling prices rose year-over-year at all but one Redfin track in the 88 largest metropolitan areas. The only metro area with a decline was Bridgeport, Connecticut, where home prices fell 0.4% from a year earlier after a 28% year-over-year increase in December 2020. The largest price increases were in Austin, Texas (+30%), North Port, Florida (+28%) and Phoenix (+28%).
Seasonally adjusted home sales in December were down 3.6% from the previous month and 11% from a year earlier, the largest annual decline since June 2020. Home sales fell from the previous month. year in 79 of the 88 largest metropolitan areas tracked by Redfin. The largest sales declines were seen in Nassau County, New York (-22%), New Brunswick, New Jersey (-22%) and Albany, New York (-21%). The biggest gains were in Greenville, South Carolina (+9%), Greensboro, North Carolina (+8%) and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (+7%).
Only one of the 88 largest metropolises tracked by Redfin saw a year-over-year increase in the number of seasonally-adjusted active listings of homes for sale: Detroit (+4%). The largest year-over-year declines in active home supply in December were seen in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (-52%), San Jose, California (-49%) and San Francisco (-46%).
Seasonally adjusted new listings of homes for sale fell 13% in December from a year earlier, the biggest drop since May 2020. New listings fell from a year ago in 82 of the 88 largest metropolitan areas.
The typical home that sold in December was under contract in 24 days, a week faster than a year earlier, when homes sold in a median of 31 days, but up nine days from the low record 15 days in June.
In December, 43% of homes sold above list price, down 14 percentage points from June’s record high, but up 9 percentage points from a year earlier. The average sell-to-list price ratio in December was 100.5%, down from a record high of 102.6% in June, but up from 99.4% a year earlier .