Home supply sees largest decline since pandemic’s start

by Liz Hughes

December housing sales fell lower than they have since the start of the pandemic, a new Redfin report found.

There were fewer homes for sale in December than ever. Despite having the largest month-over-month inventory decline since May of 2020, home prices continued to rise, climbing 15% from last year, the 17th month in a row of double-digit increases, the report noted. 

There were 6,747 homes for sale in Houston last month, an 18.2% decrease from November and down 4.1% from last year.

That lack of supply is making it difficult for homebuyers as demand continues to grow, according to Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather, who said there are plenty of homebuyers but just not enough inventory. 

“In many markets, shopping for a home feels like going to the grocery store only to find the shelves bare,” he said in a press release. “In January, I expect to see more buyers and sellers in the market, but demand will increase more than supply — pushing prices higher at the start of this year.”

In December, the median home sale price rose in all but one of the 88 largest metros Redfin tracks and only decreased in Bridgeport, Connecticut where prices fell 0.4% from 2020. The largest increases were seen in Austin, Texas which rose 30%, North Port, Florida at 28% and Phoenix, Arizona which saw 28% growth.

Houston’s December median home sales price was $319,000, up 1.9% from November and up 17.3% from last year.

December’s seasonally adjusted home sales fell 2.6% from the previous month and 11% from 2020, the largest annual decline since June 2020. In 79 of the 88 largest metro areas, home sales fell from 2020 with the biggest declines found in Nassau County, New York which fell 22%, New Brunswick, New Jersey which was down 22% and Albany, New York where sales fell 21%. Greenville, South Caroline, Greensboro, North Carolina and Baton Rouge, Louisiana had the largest gains at 9%, 8% and 7%, respectively. 

In Houston, 9,444 homes sold in December, a 10.5% increase from November and down 5.2% from last year. 

The pace of home sales nationwide continued to be brisk in December, going under contract in 24 days, a week faster than last year when homes were selling on average of 31 days. 

The report also found homes sold 43% above list price in December, down 14% from June’s record high and up 9% from 2020. 

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