Yes, housing prices are up, and yes, there is a shortage of home listings. It’s simple supply and demand — anyone looking to buy a home in the U.S. will tell you it’s been a tough year. But as the pandemic has begun to recede, there’s been some improvement, according to a report on the April 2021 housing market by Realtor.com: The number of newly listed homes increased by about 33 percent over last April, and by 43 percent in large metropolitan areas.
That’s still not nearly enough to meet demand, in part because homes have been selling so quickly. In April, a U.S. home typically sat on the market for 43 days before being bought, whereas a year ago it took about 63 days, and in the three years before that it took about 61 days. As a result, the total inventory of listings in April was still down 53 percent year over year, helping to raise the median list price of U.S. homes to a record $375,000, according to Realtor.com.
Of course, not every city or region has seen similar buyer behavior. So where did inventory shrink the most, and how did that affect listing prices in those areas?
Among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, the decline in April listings over a year was greatest in Austin, Texas, where a 73 percent drop in listings pushed the median listing price up to $515,000, a roughly 41 percent increase. The median home took just 18 days to sell in Austin, second only to Denver (15 days) and Columbus, Ohio (16 days).
The number of available homes was most stable in San Francisco, falling about 2 percent over the year, and other expensive metro areas followed: San Jose, Calif., New York, Los Angeles and Boston. But prices rose in all of them. In fact, Memphis and Milwaukee were the only metros among the 50 largest where listing prices fell, though only by 4 percent or less.
Using data from Realtor.com’s report, this week’s chart focuses on the 20 metros that saw the greatest losses in inventory in April, compared with a year earlier.