Brand Report: July Home Sales Jump 8.7% Despite Low Inventory, Ending Recent Skid

In a significant upward shift, July home sales rose 8.7% over July 2019, halting a streak of year-over-year sales declines triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. July’s market was blistering hot despite the lowest Months Supply of Inventory (1.7 months) in the 12-year history of the report.

July set a report record for most home sales in any month among the report’s 53 metro markets. Seven months into 2020, home sales are just 4.8% below 2019, compared to the end of May when the year-to-date total was 8.9% behind last year’s pace. Surprisingly, 2020 monthly sales have exceeded 2019 in four out of seven months thus far.

“The sharp gain in home sales in July – which was the best month of home sales in our report’s history – is further evidence of housing’s remarkable recovery amidst the pandemic,” said Adam Contos, RE/MAX Holdings CEO. “Home sales typically peak in May or June, but this year we’re seeing an overlap of the spring and summer markets. And, as strong as July was, sales may have been even higher if inventory hadn’t been so tight.”

Continued Contos: “Buyers have returned to the market more quickly than sellers, likely spurred on by historically low interest rates and coronavirus-inspired lifestyle changes. Home is the center of life in 2020, and the pandemic has caused people to reconsider their living situations – especially with so many people working from home. So far, buyers have shown they are willing to pay steadily increasing prices, so the months ahead could be very active, especially if more homeowners decide to jump in and sell.”

Finding a home to buy remains the biggest challenge for many. July inventory dropped 30.1% from July 2019, a report record, and was the ninth consecutive month of double-digit declines year over year. The only three months with lower inventory totals were two winters ago: December 2017 and January and February 2018.

July’s 1.7 Months of Inventory marked only the second month in report history with below 2 months supply. Even with year-over-year declines factored in, housing inventory is typically at its highest during the summer months.

July’s Median Sales Price of $285,000 is up 8.6% year-over-year. This is in line with pre-pandemic rises in price after smaller year-over-year price increases of 4.7% and 1.9% in May and June, respectively. Days on Market averaged 44, an increase from 43 the previous July.

Closed Transactions

Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in July 2020, the overall average number of home sales is up 18.6% compared to June 2020, and up 8.7% compared to July 2019.  Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increase were Pittsburgh, PA at +25.9%, Des Moines, IA at +25.2%, and Denver, CO at +22.3%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 53 metro median prices

In July 2020, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $285,000, up 3.4% from June 2020, and up 8.6% from July 2019. Only one metro area, Honolulu, HI at -4.0%, saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price. Twenty-two metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, led by Birmingham, AL at +17.1%, Augusta, ME at +14.1%, and Indianapolis, IN at +14.0%.

Days on Market – Average of 53 metro areas

The average Days on Market for homes sold in July 2020 was 44, down one day from the average in June 2020, and up one day from the average in July 2019. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 20, Cincinnati, OH at 24, and Seattle, WA at 25. The highest Days on Market averages were in Des Moines, IA at 94, Augusta, ME at 91, and Miami, FL at 90. 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 July 2020 was down 6.2% from June 2020 and down 30.1% from July 2019. Based on the rate of home sales in July 2020, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 1.7 compared to 2.1 in June 2020 and decreased compared to 3.2 in July 2019. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In July 2020, of the 53 metro areas surveyed, zero 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 a two-way tie between Albuquerque, NM and Boise, ID at 0.7, and a four-way tie among Hartford, CT, Phoenix, AZ, Manchester, NH, and Washington DC at 0.9.

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