DENVER (MO.Properties) – Representing the last full month before the coronavirus became a global pandemic, February saw the third consecutive month of year-over-year increases in U.S. home sales – a streak not seen since 2015. At the same time, inventory across the report’s 53 metro markets plunged 15.8%, marking the fourth successive month of double-digit percentage, year-over-year declines.
“Strong February home sales and limited inventory defined U.S. housing ahead of the challenges brought on by the coronavirus emergency,” said Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX Holdings, Inc. “Even as we all adjust to the new landscape of social distancing and limited in-person interaction, houses will continue to be bought and sold. Overall, demand in February was high, inventory remains low, and interest rates are attractive, but exact circumstances vary by community. Professional agents – the local experts – can offer tremendous value right now, providing clarity and expert guidance in an environment that’s new for everyone and changing every day.”
Before the coronavirus struck the U.S. on a large scale, home sales in February – which enjoyed an extra weekend day for Leap Year – increased 7.5% year over year, following strong increases of 13.5% and 10.5% in December and January. The previous streak of increasing year-over-year sales of three months or longer began in December 2015 and continued seven months into June 2016. That was also a period of large inventory declines, like the current stretch of year-over-year drops in inventory that is now at eight months.
February’s Median Sales Price of $260,000 posted a year-over-year increase of 7.9% – the 14th consecutive month where home prices have shot up.
In the nearly 12-year history of the report, three February records were set last month:
Fewest Months Supply of Inventory: 2.8
Fewest Days on Market: 60
Highest Median Sales Price: $260,000
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in February 2020, the overall average number of home sales is up 7.4% compared to January 2020, and up 7.5% compared to February 2019. Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Los Angeles, CA at +32.2%, Las Vegas, NV at +28.0%, and Billings, MT at +20.1%.
Median Sales Price – Median of 53 metro median prices
In February 2020, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $260,000, up 2.0% from January 2020, and up 7.9% from February 2019. Fifteen metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, with the largest increases seen in Birmingham, AL at +16.5%, Augusta, ME at +14.5%, and Milwaukee, WI at +13.9%. Three metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price, with the largest decrease seen in Billings, MT at -5.2%.
Days on Market – Average of 53 metro areas
The average Days on Market for homes sold in February 2020 was 60, up one day from the average in January 2020, and down two days from the average in February 2019. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 28, and a two-way tie between Nashville, TN and San Francisco, CA at 34. The highest Days on Market averages were in Des Moines, IA at 119, Augusta, ME at 112, and Hartford, CT at 97. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.
Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 53 metro areas
The number of homes for sale in February 2020 was down 2.6% from January 2020 and down 15.8% from February 2019. Based on the rate of home sales in February 2020, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 2.8 compared to 3.2 in January 2020, and decreased compared to 4.1 in February 2019. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In February 2020, of the 53 metro areas surveyed, four metro areas reported a months supply at or over six, which is typically considered a buyer’s market. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were Denver, CO and Seattle, WA, both at 1.1, and a four-way tie at 1.2.
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The RE/MAX National Housing Report is distributed each month on or about the 15th. The first Report was distributed in August 2008. The Report is based on MLS data in approximately 53 metropolitan areas, includes all residential property types, and is not annualized. For maximum representation, many of the largest metro areas in the country are represented, and an attempt is made to include at least one metro from each state. Metro area definitions include the specific counties established by the U.S. Government’s Office of Management and Budget, with some exceptions.
Transactions are the total number of closed residential transactions during the given month. Months Supply of Inventory is the total number of residential properties listed for sale at the end of the month (current inventory) divided by the number of sales contracts signed (pended) during the month. Where “pended” data is unavailable, this calculation is made using closed transactions. Days on Market is the number of days that pass from the time a property is listed until the property goes under contract for all residential properties sold during the month. Median Sales Price is the median of the median sales prices in each of the metro areas included in the survey.
MLS data is provided by contracted data aggregators, RE/MAX brokerages and regional offices. While MLS data is believed to be accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. MLS data is constantly being updated, making any analysis a snapshot at a particular time. Every month the RE/MAX National Housing Report re-calculates the previous period’s data to ensure accuracy over time. All raw data remains the intellectual property of each local MLS organization.