Buyers and Sellers ‘Making Moves’ as Spring Homebuying Season Ramps Up

Home sales increased in February, up 17.0% from January and 2.3% from February 2023, as the yearly spring homebuying season approaches quickly. Buyers paid extra for those sales, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report for February 2024.

At $412,000, the median home price increased 2.1% from January and 7.0% from the previous year. The $27,000 increase from February 2023 reflected that buyers on average were willing to pay 99% of the listing price. Buyers paid an average of 98% or less in a third of the 50 metro areas that were examined, and an average of 100% or more in a quarter of the markets. At the current median sales price, 1% is roughly equal to $4,000.

Meanwhile, inventory decreased by just 0.6% from January while remaining largely stable. While the number of properties for sale was 10.8% greater than a year ago, the months supply of inventory (1.9) decreased little from January’s 2.1 but was still higher than February of last year’s 1.6. Homes sold in February on average in 44 days, two days quicker than in January and one day quicker than in February 2023—another sign of rising demand.

“The February jump in sales activity illustrates the strength of demand in many markets. Buyers are out there looking for homes,” said RE/MAX President Amy Lessinger. “Investing in real estate is still one of the best ways to build wealth. As the market has continued to rebalance, both buyers and sellers seem to be adjusting their plans and making moves they may have had on hold for a while.”

Strong homebuyer demand was also observed by Tim Yee, a broker associate with RE/MAX Gold in the San Francisco Bay Area, who noted that pricing had stayed impressively constant. The list price to sales price ratio in San Francisco County was between 100 and 106%, which indicates that buyers paid more than the asking price. When reasonably priced listings in prime areas went up for bids, they quickly found a buyer.

According to Yee, the pent-up demand could result in a more robust spring market for everyone, should the Fed decide to change interest rates or if “sellers finally get tired of waiting and decide to sell.”

Highlights and Local Market Results for February 2024:

  • Closed Transactions: The total number of home sales in the 50 metro regions examined in February 2024 increased by 2.3% from February 2023 and by 17.0% from January 2024. The markets that saw the largest increases in sales percentage year over year were Minneapolis (+14.7%), Burlington, VT (+15.1%), and Salt Lake City (+16.5%). The markets that saw the largest declines in sales percentage year over year were Dover, DE (-9.5%), New Orleans (-11.5%), and Tulsa, OK (-12.9%).
  • Median Sales Price: The median sales price across all 50 metro areas in February 2024 was $412,000, up 2.1% from January 2024 and 7.0% from February 2023. Trenton, NJ (+23.7%) and Bozeman, MT (+21.7%) saw the most year-over-year increases in median sales prices, followed by a tie between Dover, DE and Cleveland (+16.7%). The two markets with the largest year-over-year declines in median sales prices were Anchorage, AK (-2.7%), and Burlington, VT (-9.9%).
  • Close-to-List Price Ratio: The average close-to-list price ratio in February 2024 was 99%, an increase from 98% in January 2024 and February 2023. The average sales price divided by the list price for each transaction yields the close-to-list price ratio. The house closed for more than the asking price when the percentage was more than 100%. The house sold for less than the list price if it is less than 100%. San Francisco had the greatest close-to-list price ratio at 104%, followed by a tie between Hartford, CT and Manchester, NH at 102% for the metro areas. Miami and New Orleans had the lowest close-to-list price ratios, at 95% and 96%, respectively.
  • Days on Market: For properties sold in February 2024, the average days on market was 44, which was one day less than in February 2023 and two less than in January 2024. The metro regions with the lowest number of days on market were Trenton, NJ (20), Washington, D.C. (17), and Baltimore (16). The three cities with the greatest days on market averages were Coeur d’Alene, ID (72), Des Moines, IA (74), and Fayetteville, AR (86).
  • Months’ Supply of Inventory: February 2024 experienced a decrease of 0.6% from January 2024 and an increase of 10.8% from February 2023 in the number of properties for sale. The months’ supply of inventory was 1.9 in February 2024, down from 2.1 in January 2024 and up from 1.6 in February 2023, based on the rate of home sales. The markets with the largest months’ supply of inventory in February 2024 were Bozeman, MT (4.1), New Orleans (4.2), and Miami (4.3). Seattle had the lowest months’ supply of inventory at 0.6; Manchester, NH, had the lowest at 0.7; and Baltimore and Trenton, NJ, tied at 0.8.

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

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Demetria C. Lester

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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