In most years, home sales begin to slow as it gets closer to the end of the year, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this year. New data from Realtor.com shows that homes actually sold faster in October than they did in September; the first time that’s happened since 2011.
According to Realtor.com’s report, homes sold in 53 days in October, which is 13 days faster than last October and one day faster than September.
In the nation’s 50 largest metro areas, homes were on the market for even less time. In those areas, homes sold in 45 days. Buffalo, New York was the only metro area in the top 50 where homes sold slower than last year.
Meanwhile, homes in Hartford, Connecticut went off the market 23 days faster than last year, homes in Virginia Beach, Virginia sold 22 days faster, and homes in San Diego sold 20 days faster.
Given that homes were basically flying off the market, there was also a substantial decrease in available inventory. According to Realtor.com, the number of homes for sale nationwide was down 38.3% in October from the previous year.
All in all, there were approximately 500,000 fewer homes on the market in October 2020 than there were in October 2019.
In addition to homes selling faster than last year, home prices also rose in October, a month where home prices usually drop based on lower interest from home shoppers.
According to Realtor.com, the median listing price for homes was $350,000, up 12% year-over-year. The real estate site added that in a “normal” year, prices would have fallen by 1-4% by October.
The metro areas that posted the largest price gains were Los Angeles, where prices rose by 16.9%, Philadelphia, where prices rose by 16.7%, and Cincinnati, where prices rose by 16.3%.
"In the fall, we normally see homes sell more slowly and prices pull back from peak levels. But this October, we saw a drop in the time it takes to sell a home even while home prices remain at their summer peak" said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com.
"Drawn in by low mortgage rates and the hope of more space, buyers have stayed in the housing market this fall, keeping prices high and pushing time on market to unseasonable lows,” Hale added. “Although we saw growth in newly listed properties in the Northeast and West this month, we'll need a consistent wave of fresh homes hitting the market in order to better match persistent buyer demand."