There were nearly half the amount of homes for sale at the end of February in comparison to a year earlier. The inventory of homes for sale in February decreased by 48.6% over the past year, a higher rate of decline compared to the 42.6% drop in January. This amounted to 496,000 fewer homes for sale compared to February of last year. This is according to a new report by realtor.com.
The sharp drop in new listings was partly due to severe weather. The severe winter storms across the country limited the market activity. This resulted in newly listed homes further declining by 24.5%. In the 3rd week of February, new listings dropped by 35.2% compared to last year. As conditions got better in the final week of February, they recovered to 26.9%. The severe weather coupled with an already record-low supply is making it increasingly difficult for buyers to find their home at their perfect price point.
“Last month’s record cold and snowstorms likely caused sellers to hit pause, even if only temporarily,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com. “However, in today’s inventory-starved market, any setback is significant. Unless we see some big improvements in the new listings trends over the coming months buyers can expect stiff competition.”
The hesitancy from sellers resulted in about 207,000 fewer newly listed homes for sale during the first two months of 2021. In order to reach the same average of the past four years, new listings would have to grow by 25% annually in March and April. Something that is unlikely.
While declines were across the country, the biggest drops in supply were in Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Missouri, and Milwaukee. The only major cities seeing inventory gains were San Jose, San Francisco and Denver.
Meanwhile in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C. area, the housing market saw an 18.5% drop in new listings compared to this time last year. The housing market in Charlotte is still booming however, according to Mecklenburg County officials. 99.2% of sellers are getting their asking price or more within 23 days of being on the market, according to the county’s data.
“We’ve seen large increases in our housing market throughout the year,” said Michael Simmons, the county’s economist.
Realtors say Charlotte’s real estate market is unlike anything they’ve ever seen. The Queen City is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country with 122 people moving here every single day, according to WCNC TV in Charlotte.
Nationwide, the tight supply has only made sellers more confident in their potential gains. Newly listed homes hit an all-time high asking price of $347,475 in February, according to Redfin. According to realtor.com, the median listing price in Mecklenburg County is $345k.