Housing market simmers down, but pending sales are still up

by Alsha Khan

Courtesy of Redfin.

The housing market has been on fire through the pandemic, and although it’s still going strong, it appears to be cooling off a bit coming into June, according to a new report from Redfin.

While pending sales are up 29% year over year, they are starting to slow and have fallen 9.7% from their peak four weeks ago. However, Redfin experts say the decline could be attributed to the possibility that buyers took a break from their new-home searches to enjoy Memorial Day weekend.

Other leading market indicators also seem to be simmering down, like home-purchase applications, which have been falling since March and are 7% lower than they were at the beginning of 2020. Redfin’s demand index has also dropped 12% since it hit its peak in March.

For the four-week period ending on June 6, Redfin’s median home price increased 24% year over year to a record high of $358,749, and the asking price for newly listed homes rose 14% to an all-time high of $364,725.

“Buyers have faced a tough market this year, and fewer feel it is a good time to buy, as the allure of low rates has waned, so some are choosing to wait it out for now,” Redfin lead economist Taylor Marr said in the report. “With demand stabilizing, the housing market should become more balanced, allowing homebuyers to have a less-stressful and challenging time finding and competing for a home.”

Candice Smith, a New York Redfin agent, said she’s noticed many changes in the landscape of bidding wars in her market over the past month, like declines in how much buyers are willing to pay above asking price and the number of competing offers in the average bidding process.

“Homebuyers still need to be strategically creative when submitting their highest and best offer, which involves methods like offering to cover an appraisal gap upfront, dropping the appraisal or mortgage contingency altogether or adding escalation clauses,” said Smith.

Read more about Atlanta real estate agents’ tips on how to win a bidding war here.

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