September saw fewer homes sold, another increase in prices

by Liz Hughes

The continued lack of inventory is restricting home sales nationally. Fewer homes sold in September as new listings fell 9% from last year and closed home sales dropped 5%, according to a new Redfin report

Despite the declines, the median home price rose 14% in September to $376,800, marking the 14th consecutive month of double-digit gains, yet it was the lowest growth rate since last December, according to the report.

The median home sale price in Houston was $300,000 in September, down 2.3% from August but up 14.8% from last year.

Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather says the severe lack of inventory is impacting home sales. 

“Even though plenty of people bought homes last year, many homebuyers waited while the pandemic went from bad to worse and remote-work policies were finalized,” he said in the release. “The homebuyers who are just beginning their search are finding that the well has run dry. But I am hopeful that as it becomes easier to get building materials, we will finally have a strong year for new construction in 2022. That’s what the market needs more than anything.”

All but one of the 85 largest areas Redfin tracks had an increase in median sale prices. The largest increases last month were in North Port, Florida, which was up 30%, Salt Lake City at 28% and Austin, Texas, at 27%. 

Almost 50% of homes sold above list price in September (48%), down 8% from June’s record high and up 14% from last year. 

September also found seasonally-adjusted home sales which were down 5% from last year — the second annual decline in the past 16 months. Sales fell in 66 of the 85 metros with the largest declines in New Orleans which were down 42%, Bridgeport, Connecticut, down 24% and Salt Lake City, Utah, down 23%. The largest gains included New York at 26%, Honolulu, Hawaii, at 24% and San Jose, California, at 15%. 

In Houston, 9,447 homes sold last month, down 8.3% from August and up 0.6% from last year. 

Active listings also fell in September, down 19% year over year. Only three of the 85 metros had a year-over-year increase including Austin, Texas, at 3%, Tacoma, Washington, at 3% and Columbus, Ohio, at 0.3%. The largest annual declines were in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was down 53%, Salt Lake City down 50% and Rochester, New York, down 47%. 

The report also found seasonally-adjusted new home listings were down 9% year over year, only the second decline since February. September homes went under contract in 18 days last month, more than a week faster than in 2020 and up three days from June’s record low. 

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