‘Quiet exit’ from the US housing market: A group of sellers has disappeared

Not many houses come on the market.

According to Realtor.com (via Getty), new listings are down 21% on a year-over-year basis. Good pictures

The all-important spring season of the housing market has arrived, but many homes remain unsold.

According to Realtor.com (See chart below), only 392,016 US homes were listed for sale in April 2023. That’s below the 497,844 listed in April 2022—notorious for its tight supply—and well below the 552,082 listed in April 2019.

Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather perhaps summed up the phenomenon best when he tweeted last week: “Homeowners Leaving the Housing Market Remain Quiet.”

Fairweather is a bit tongue-in-cheek to describe the lack of new inventory, implying underperforming employees—while prompting a quiet defection. He’s on to something: Spiked mortgage rates coincide with less moving-sales/buying.

as Good luck It previously explained that it doesn’t make economic sense for someone with a 2% or 3% mortgage rate—one of the pandemic’s biggest financial incentives—to sell their home and then try to buy a new home. A 6% mortgage rate. If they do, they’ll end up with a significantly larger monthly mortgage payment.

More move-up buyers prefer to stay put, and fewer homes are coming on the market.

Check out the newest home listings hitting the market, according to a Realtor.com chart

The move-up sellers/buyers pullback is not only felt on the supply side, it gives a hit to demand as well. See, if a particular homeowner decides to stop trading the property, that means there is one less home on the market and fewer buyers are coming into the market.

So do buyers or sellers have the upper hand?

Unlike New list Aggregate (i.e. the number of houses that come on the market in a particular month), the Active list Aggregate (i.e. total inventory in the market) is the best indicator of availability in the market at any point in time.

There were 21.2% fewer US homes for sale in April 2023 (ie “new listings” shown in the chart above) compared to the same month a year ago, while there were actually 49.3% more homes for sale (ie “active listings” shown in the chart below) in April 2022. than in April 2023. The reason? Last year’s mortgage rate increase saw homes sit on the market longer as days on the market increased, allowing inventory to accumulate even as fewer homes were for sale.

However, we are still far from a national buyer’s market. In fact, active listings (i.e. inventory) in April 2023 were 50.3% below the level seen in April 2019.

See active housing inventory for sale, according to a Realtor.com chart

In theory, a market with inventories above pre-pandemic levels has seen a dramatic dynamic shift in buyer support. On the other hand, markets with inventory levels below pre-pandemic levels have seen less dramatic change.

The Searchable chart below Provides active listings/inventory data for the nation’s 100 largest housing markets.

View the monthly chart of active housing inventory for sale

Of the nation’s 100 largest housing markets, one (the slumping Austin housing market) has returned to pre-pandemic (ie 2019) inventory levels.

Meanwhile, 99 other major markets are still below their April 2019 balance levels. That includes Hartford, Conn. (79.7% decline) and Bridgeport, Conn. (77.6% decline) includes places like

Need to stay up-to-date on the housing market? Follow me on Twitter @NewsLambert.

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