May 2021 Monthly Housing Market Trends Report:

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Real Estate

The national inventory of active listings declined by 50.9% over last year, while the total inventory of unsold homes, including pending listings, declined by 20.8%.
Newly listed homes on the market are up 5.4% nationally compared to a year ago and by 12.4% for large metros over the past year. Sellers are still listing at rates lower than previous years, however. 
The May national median listing price for active listings was $380,000, up 15.2% compared to last year. Large metros saw an average price gain of 7.4% compared to last year.
Nationally, the typical home spent 39 days on the market in May, 32 days less than the same time last year. 
Realtor.com®’s May housing data release reveals that the growth rate in median listing prices has finally slowed after almost a year of continuous acceleration. While this is a good sign for buyers, prices are still rising because inventory remains constrained and the typical home is now spending over a  month less on the market than last year. Heading into summer, buyers should still be prepared to move quickly to snag their dream home. 

New Listings Up Over Last Year but Inventory Remains Constrained

Nationally, the inventory of homes actively for sale in May decreased by 50.9% over the past year, a lower rate of decline compared to the 53.0% drop in April, but it remains far from the trajectory needed to relieve the historically tight home supply. This amounted to 523,000 fewer homes actively for sale on a typical day in May compared to the previous year. The total number of unsold homes nationwide–a metric that includes active listings and listings in various stages of the selling process that are not yet sold– is down 20.8% percent from May 2020. In May, newly listed homes grew by 5.4% on a year-over-year basis compared to the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. However, newly listed homes are still down 25.2% from the typical rate of newly listed homes in 2017 to 2019. 

In May, the share of newly listed homes compared to active daily inventory hit a historical high of 44.4%, 17.3 percentage points higher than last year and 15.1 percentage points above typical levels seen in 2017 to 2019. This is a reflection of quickly selling homes and, for buyers, it means that while they can expect fresh new listings every week, they will have to be prepared to move quickly on desirable homes.

The inventory of homes actively for sale in the 50 largest U.S. metros overall decreased by 49.4% over last year in May, a decrease in the rate of decline compared to last month’s 51.1% decrease. Regionally, the inventory of homes in southern metros is showing the largest year-over-year decline, as metros in the South didn’t see their inventory drop as significantly this time last year, and this year’s seasonal inventory growth has been slower. Southern large metros are also seeing a small decline in new listings, on average, compared to last year, while newly listed homes in large metros in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, were growing by 32.2%, 18.5%, and 15.9% year-over-year, respectively.

Markets that are seeing the largest year-over-year growth in newly listed homes include mostly northeastern and midwestern metros which were first and hardest-hit at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic including Buffalo (+64.3%), Philadelphia (+52.5%), and Washington, D.C. (+48.9%). Markets that are still seeing a decline in newly listed homes compared to last year include southern metros such as Nashville (-31.7%), Oklahoma City (-26.7%), and Raleigh (-23.5%).

Homes Selling More Than One Month More Quickly Than Last Year

Homes for sale in May continued to sell more quickly than last year, as buyer demand remains strong and the housing market laps slower conditions last May. The typical home spent 39 days on the market this May, more than one month (-32 days) more quickly than last year. It is also 19 days less than the typical time on market in May 2017 to 2019 as demand for homes remains elevated heading into the summer months. 

In the 50 largest U.S. metros, the typical home spent 33 days on the market, and homes spent 25 days less on the market, on average, compared to last May. Among these 50 largest metros, the time a typical property spends on the market has decreased most in large metros in the Northeast (-32 days), followed by the South and Midwest (-26 days each), and the West (-18 days). 

Among larger metropolitan areas, homes saw the greatest decline in time spent on the market compared to last year in Pittsburgh (-48 days), Detroit (-45 days), and Rochester (-45 days). No metros saw days on the market increase compared to last year in May

Listing Price Growth Slows

The median national home price for active listings grew by 15.2% over last year and reached $380,000 in May, lower than last month’s growth rate of 17.2%. This marks the first time the annual growth rate has decreased in 13 months (other than February 2021 which was affected by extreme weather events). The slowing in the rate of growth of listing prices is a welcome reprieve to buyers as continued double-digit growth is unsustainable.  

Active listing prices in the nation’s largest metros grew by an average of 7.4% compared to last year, lower than last month’s rate of 11.6%, as price growth in the nation’s largest metros is cooling slightly faster than other areas across the country. Among the largest 50 metros, listing prices are increasing most in western markets, where they are now growing at an average rate of 13.3% over last year, compared to a growth rate of 8.2% for southern metros, 5.9% for northeastern metros, and 1.0% for midwestern metros.  

Austin (+32.2%), Riverside (+21.5%), and Las Vegas (+18.5%) posted the highest year-over-year median list price growth in May