Fall Frenzy on the Way? Inventory Hits a 2021 High

Fall buyers this year will have more supply to choose from, with inventory reaching a 2021 peak of 646,053 for-sale homes in September.

According to the realtor.com® Monthly Housing Report, almost one-third of the 50 largest metros saw increases in newly listed homes compared to last year. New listings were up more than 10% YoY in Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; Jacksonville, Florida; and Washington, D.C.

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Key findings:

U.S. housing inventory is still down YoY, declining 22.2% in September, but still an improvement over August (-25.8%).

Compared to the national rate, improvements in inventory decline are more noticeable in the 50 largest U.S. metros, down by an average of 18.5% YoY.

Overall new listings are down nationwide (-3.9%) YoY for the first time in five months, while newly-listed entry-level single-family homes continued to increase (+8.0%).

Among the areas with the biggest drops in newly-listed homes in September were those impacted by Hurricane Ida, including the Northeast (-5.4%) and South (-3.2%), as well as the West (-4.7%) where wildfires may have delayed sellers’ plans. Resurging COVID cases could have also played a role.

The takeaway:

Typical seasonal patterns were missing from last year’s fall market, but while there’s been improvement, sky-high competition still poses a challenge.

“Put simply, this September buyers had more options than they’ve had all year and while that’s typical of early fall, that’s not what happened in 2020. Still, it’s important to remember that while buyers may have an easier time this fall than they did in the spring, the market remains more competitive than it has been historically at this time of year,” said realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale in a statement. “There are fewer homes for sale than last year and less than half as many as two years ago; homes are also selling a lot faster. With new listings in September dipping below last year for the first time in five months, next month’s data will yield important clues about whether this setback is going to be temporary or a new trend.”

By Liz Dominguez