The housing market started showing signs of strengthening in May as states started to reopen after being on lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic, realtor.com®’s latest May Monthly Housing Trends report shows. More listings are coming on the market and home prices are standing firm.
The national median listing price reached a new record high of $330,000 in May, realtor.com® reports. Thirty-five of the nation’s top 50 metros saw median listing prices increase year-over-year.
The highest year-over-year median list price increases in May were recorded in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. (up 14.9%); Pittsburgh, Pa. (up 14%); and Cincinnati, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. (up 12.1%).
Housing inventories remain low, but the rate of decline in newly listed properties compared from April to May has shown improvement. In April, inventory declines year-over-year were off 44.1%; in May, inventory declines were 29.4% annually, in comparison.
“May’s home price data demonstrate the underlying strength of the U.S. housing market despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “The fact that home prices are at all-time high shows that the momentum the market had prior to the pandemic has helped to keep buyer and seller expectations stable. Ongoing inventory shortages that continue to worsen, also push home prices higher even while homes sell more slowly.”
As a sense of normalcy returns to markets, Hale predicts a shortened, but strong summer selling season—but that also assumes more homes are listed for sale.
Homes for sale continue to be in short supply, down nearly 20% compared to a year ago. The metros seeing the largest declines in housing inventories tended to be those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those markets were along the East Coast, such as Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md. (down 38.6%); Providence-Warwick, R.I.-Mass (down 35.8%); and Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (down 34.5%). None of the largest 50 metros nationwide saw an inventory increase annually in May, realtor.com® reports.