March madness: Homes sold faster than ever last month

59% of homes in contract had been listed for less than two weeks

National /
Apr.April 07, 2021 07:00 AM
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

The housing market is setting all kinds of records.

Fifty-nine percent of homes that went into contract in the four weeks ending March 28 had spent less than a fortnight on the market, according to data from Redfin. That’s the highest percentage of fast-selling homes since the brokerage began tracking this information in 2012.

In the final week of the period, 61 percent of homes that found buyers did so within two weeks.

The number homes in contract where the seller accepted an offer within one week of listing was also high — 47 percent. Only 33 percent did a year ago.

To get their hands on a property, buyers typically paid the full asking prices — indeed, a bit more, on average, as the sale-to-list price ratio hit an all-time high of 100.4 percent. It was 2 percentage points lower a year ago.

Forty-one percent of homes sold for more than their list price. Just one-quarter did a year ago.

As homes were snapped up, the number of active listings during the four weeks went down. It fell 42 percent from where it was in the same period of 2020. The drop was the largest since Redfin began tracking the metric in 2016.

Despite rising prices, falling inventory and mortgage lenders getting stingy, interest among buyers remains high. In the week ending March 28, home tours and other services from Redfin were up 148 percent from a year ago, when the pandemic briefly froze the market. But even compared to 2019, today’s number is still 57 percent higher.

Median home sale price reached an all-time high of $335,613, up 17 percent in a year. Asking prices rose to $353,500, a 14 percent increase.

Meanwhile, there were 38 percent more pending home sales than there were a year earlier and 28 percent more than in 2019.

Not every number went up. Purchase applications for mortgages fell 2 percent from the previous week, but they were up by 39 percent from the week ending March 26, 2020. The benchmark 30-year mortgage continues to get more expensive since reaching historic lows a few months ago, as rates are now at the highest level since June.

Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said that the drop in homes for sale coupled with rising mortgage rates is leaving some families behind.

“First-time homebuyers who were already stretching their budgets will have to make bigger compromises on size and location or resign to renting for another year,” Fairweather said.

He suggested families instead check out the condo market, which is less competitive.





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