Houston housing market cools as sales slow down

by Lindsey Wells

A shortage of buyers and scarce new listings are leading to an uptick in homes sitting on the market longer than a month. While this is good news for buyers, it’s a source of frustration for sellers, Redfin recently reported.

According to the report, the share of “stale” Houston listings, or homes that were listed for 30 days or longer without going under contract, increased by 10.2% year over year in July. Overall, 60% of Houston listings remain on the market for over a month.

“The market did a 180-degree turn from early spring to late spring, with buyers backing out because of high mortgage rates. A lot of sellers are telling me they feel that they’ve missed out on the hot market,” said Christopher Johns, a Redfin agent in Houston. “I’m reminding prospective sellers that we’re not in a housing-market crash; it’s a correction. If sellers list their home for slightly less than they would have five months ago, they’re still likely to get a solid offer. And my advice to buyers is to remember that 5% rates aren’t the end of the world; they can always refinance in the future if rates go down.” 

Nationally, the share of U.S. homes listed for 30 days or longer without going under contract increased 12.5% in July from a year earlier. Put another way, roughly two-thirds (61.2%) of for-sale homes were on the market for at least 30 days, up from 54.4% a year earlier, the report noted.

The uptick in stale inventory is one reason the supply shortage is easing: The total number of U.S. homes for sale was up 4% in July, the most significant increase since mid-2019. However, that’s due primarily to homes staying on the market longer; the number of new listings was down 6%.

“People want to know whether we’ve officially shifted from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. While there’s not a clear line separating those two ideas, homes sitting on the market longer is a point in buyers’ favor,” said Taylor Marr, deputy chief economist for Redfin. “Buyers can take their time making careful decisions about homes without worrying so much about bidding wars, offering over the asking price and waiving contingencies. It’s a different story for sellers, who have spent the last two years hearing about their neighbors’ homes getting multiple offers the day they go on sale. Now they need to price lower and get back to the basics of selling a home, like staging and sprucing up painting, to get buyers’ attention.”

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