End-of-Year Market Trends Bode Well for the New Year

December 2023 exhibited a traditional end-of-year slowing in housing market activity, boasting many similarities to December 2022, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report.

Report Highlights:

  • Homes sold were on the market for an average of 47 days in both Decembers—seven days longer than in November 2023.
  • December 2023 sales averaged 98% of the listing price, the same as the prior year and slightly down from 99% in November 2023.
  • Months’ supply of inventory in both Decembers was 2.5, slightly down from 2.6 in November 2023.

These three metrics showed no year-over-year changes.

Additional Findings:

  • December home sales dropped 7.3% year-over-year and 2.3% from November. As of 2022, the number of home sales declined year over year in every month of 2023.
    Inventory slipped just 0.7% from December 2022 while dropping 10.4% from November. Inventory declined year over year in each of the last seven months of 2023.

Two metrics made year-over-year gains in December across the 52 metro areas surveyed:

  • December’s new listings were up 2.7% year over year while down 24.3% from November.
  • The median sold price of $400,000 was 3.9% (or $15,000) higher than December 2022 and 1.2% lower than November.

“There are many reasons to be encouraged about housing in 2024. The high mortgage rates and inventory lows of 2023 definitely made for a challenging market, but December data shows some positive signs for the new year,” said Nick Bailey, RE/MAX, LLC President and CEO. “If new construction starts to increase along with mortgage rates dropping, move-up buyers may start to explore their options, making room for new buyers. We believe there is a lot of pent-up demand, especially among younger people.”

Christopher Arienti, Broker and Owner of RE/MAX Executive Realty outside of Boston, agrees that it feels like there’s new momentum in the market.

“The Boston Metro market definitely saw its share of difficulty in 2023,” said Arienti. “Transactions were down almost 20% in most areas as folks reacted to the higher interest rates. The good news: As mortgage rates came down at the end of 2023, agents and homebuyers entered our 2024 market with more optimism. If the buyers pool remains strong, our spring market could be exciting, and you can feel the excitement among our agents.”

Highlights and Local Market Results for December

New Listings:

Of the 52 metro areas surveyed in December 2023, the number of newly listed homes was down 24.3% compared to November 2023 and up 2.7% compared to December 2022. The markets with the biggest decrease in year-over-year new listing percentage were:

  1. Manchester, NH ( -31.3%)
  2. Anchorage, AK (-18.1%)
  3. Indianapolis (-13.7%)

The markets with the biggest year-over-year increase in new listings percentage were:

  1. Bozeman, MT (+75.6%)
  2. Houston (+22.0%)
  3. Phoenix (+19.6%)

Closed Transactions:

Of the 52 metro areas surveyed in December 2023, the overall number of home sales was down 2.3% compared to November 2023 and down 7.3% compared to December 2022. The markets with the biggest decrease in year-over-year sales percentage were Providence, RI, at -18.4%, Boston at -17.9%, and Cleveland at -17.2%. The markets with the biggest increase in year-over-year sales percentage were Coeur d’Alene, ID, at +20.7%, Burlington, VT, at +9.5%, and Richmond, VA, at +6.8%.

Median Sales Price:

In December 2023, the median of all 52 metro area sales prices was $400,000, down 1.2% compared to November 2023 and up 3.9% from December 2022. The markets with the largest year-over-year decrease in median sales price were:

  1. New Orleans (-6.3%)
  2. Coeur d’Alene, ID ( -3.7%)
  3. Charlotte, NC (-2.3%)

The markets with the largest year-over-year increase in median sales price were:

  1. Trenton, NJ (+19.6%)
  2. Hartford, CT (+15.8%)
  3. Baltimore (+12.6%)

Close-to-List Price Ratio:

In December 2023, the average close-to-list price ratio of all 52 metro areas in the report was 98%, down from 99% in November 2023 and flat compared to December 2022. The close-to-list price ratio is calculated by the average value of the sales price divided by the list price for each transaction. When the number is above 100%, the home closed for more than the list price. If it’s less than 100%, the home sold for less than the list price.

The metro areas with the lowest close-to-list price ratio were Miami at 95%, followed by a three-way tie between: Bozeman, MT, Coeur d’Alene, ID, and New Orleans at 96%.

The metro areas with the highest close-to-list price ratios were Hartford, CT, at 102%, followed by a four-way tie between Burlington, VT, Manchester, NH, San Francisco, and Trenton, NJ, at 101%.

Days on Market:

The average days on market for homes sold in December 2023 were 47, up seven days compared to the average in November 2023 and flat compared to December 2022. The metro areas with the lowest days on market were Baltimore at 17, Washington, DC at 19, and Philadelphia at 21. The highest days on market averages were in Coeur d’Alene, ID, at 94, Fayetteville, AR, at 81, and Des Moines, IA, at 77.

Months’ Supply of Inventory: 

The number of homes for sale in December 2023 was down 10.4% from November 2023 and down 0.7% from December 2022. Based on the rate of home sales in December 2023, the months’ supply of inventory was 2.5, down from 2.6 in November 2023 and flat compared to December 2022. In December 2023, the markets with the lowest months’ supply of inventory were Trenton, NJ, at 0.7 and Seattle at 0.9, followed by a tie between Manchester, NH, and Washington, DC, at 1.1.

The markets with the highest months’ supply of inventory were Bozeman, MT, at 5.4, San Antonio at 5.3, and Miami at 5.2.

To read the full report, including more data, charts, and methodology, click here.

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Demetria C. Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for MortgagePoint (formerly DS News and MReport) with more than eight years of writing and editing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is a jazz aficionado, Harry Potter fanatic, and likes to read. She can be reached at demetria.lester@thefivestar.com.
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