Home Sales Speed up in September as Inventory Declines

Homes sold like hot potatoes in September as declining inventory put pressure on buyers, says Zillow based on a decreased number of days listings stayed on the online real estate database’s marketplace. 

For-sale homes sold a month faster in September 2013 compared to the year before. Listings spent a median 86 days on Zillow, down from 116 days in 2012. 

Since the beginning of 2010, national listings have spent a median 119 days on Zillow before being sold or taken off the market, the real estate database says, factoring in homes that are listed, removed, and then re-posted with new prices.

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“The declining inventory of for-sale homes over the past year naturally creates pressure for buyers to more quickly snap up the inventory that is on the market. This demand has been fueled by huge resets in home prices since market peak, historically low mortgage rates and a slowly improving broader economic climate,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries in a statement. “Home shoppers in today’s environment need to be prepared to move quickly, with pre-approvals in place and an established sense of what they’re willing to pay for a home.”

California and Texas metros dominated the top-ten list of fastest-moving major markets in September. San Jose and San Francisco, Calif. topped the list with homes spending 43 and 48 days, respectively,  on the market. Austin, Texas, Sacramento, Calif., and the Dallas-Forth Worth metro in Texas round out the top five, with Zillow-listed homes sold in 60 or fewer days.

Among the largest 50 metros, several metro markets have accelerated quickly on a year-over-year basis, Zillow notes.

Homes in Sacramento, Calif. spent around 42% fewer days listed for sale on Zillow in September, followed by Las Vegas and San diego, both with nearly 37% fewer days on the market. 

The pace at which homes are sold is not expected to continue at September’s rate, however. 

“[E]ven though things are moving fast, buyers should resist the urge to enter into bidding wars or pay prices they’re uncomfortable with,” said Humphries. “We do expect that this need for speed will abate in the near-term as mortgage rates rise and more inventory becomes available because of new construction and declining negative equity.”

Written by Alyssa Gerace