May marks turning point in housing frenzy, homebuyers starting to regain control

by Liz Hughes

Homebuyers are finally starting to regain some control.

May was a turning point in the pandemic housing frenzy, according to a new Redfin report, which saw home inventory climb to a new high and more sellers dropping their prices. 

But that all comes at a great cost as record-high prices, along with the 5% mortgage rates continues to keep many buyers out of the market. Last month a record 57% of homes sold above list price, up from 51% a year earlier.

Redfin’s economics research lead Chen Zhao said the sudden surge in mortgage rates led to May’s sudden and significant housing market cooldown.

“However, mortgage rates are now stabilizing and homes remain in short supply, so while we do expect home-price growth rates to decline, we don’t expect prices to fall much at the national level,” Zhao said. “For homebuyers trying to determine the best timing this year, the main benefit of waiting is that there may be less competition as supply starts to build up.”

Redfin found fewer Google searches for “homes for sale” during the week ended May 21, down 10% from a year earlier. Its Homebuyer Demand Index, which measures requests for tours and other services, fell 9% year over year during the week ended May 29, the seventh consecutive decline in the index. 

Additionally, mortgage applications fell 14% from last year as the 30-year mortgage fell slightly to 5.09% for the week ended June 2. With that, the monthly mortgage payment on a median asking price home fell slightly to $2,391 up 40% from $1,710 a year earlier, when mortgage rates were 2.99%.

In the four weeks ended May 29, active listings fell 10% year over year (the smallest decline since April 2020). The median asking price rose 17% from 2021 to $412,450. Meanwhile, the median sale price increased 16% year over year to a record $400,999. 

Fifty-four percent of homes went under contract with an accepted offer within the first two weeks of being listed, up from 53% last year. Thirty-nine percent of homes went under contract with an accepted offer within one week, remaining flat from last year. 

Homes on the market fell to a record-low 15 days, a drop from 19 days in 2021. And they continue to sell well above asking price. A record 57% of homes sold above list price last month, up from 51% a year earlier.

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