Hello and thanks for joining us to track the impact of COVID on the residential housing market. This week we’ll feature information from our weekly report as well as some showings trends and buyer and seller activity by price point. Last week we passed a milestone where showing activity had reached a new high for the year. Showing activity continued to expand, reaching new highs this past week. Prospective buyers took a quick breather recently during a cold Mother’s Day weekend, giving the appearance of a slanted “W” shape (no, we’re not talking about the shape of the economic recovery). But even a cold Mother’s Day weekend and rainy weather this past weekend couldn’t hold us back from posting new highs.
In terms of changes to the share of overall showing activity, we saw gains in all price segments except the two most affordable ranges—under $200K and $200-250K. This could reflect several dynamics, we’ll start with four. First, listings are thin in these two most affordable ranges, so it’s hard to sustain growth in the share of showings in these ranges. Second, this segment saw strong gains in showings the week prior. Third, it could still reflect some workers hit by job losses, and fourth, it could reflect a desire for more updated turnkey listings among economically stable households.
Once again we see some of the larger gains occurring in the high-end or luxury brackets. But recall that those segments experienced sharp pull-backs early on, and so some of this is just “getting back to normal” coming off of low levels. Overall, there were 9.2 percent more showings for the recent week ended 5/17 compared to the week ended 5/10. Some are likely wondering about the decrease in showings on listings in the $200-250K range, so keep in mind that segment had a nearly 19.0 percent gain last week.
Here’s a recap from our latest weekly market activity report which you can find here, and is posted to our website every Monday afternoon. There are a few encouraging signs for both new listings and pending sales. New listings have now seen four consecutive weeks of year-over-year gains while pending sales have seen three. Pending sales have actually reached a new weekly high for 2020, eclipsing their previous high from 3/14. Another encouraging sign was an acceleration in new listings, a very welcomed change.
That was a high-level view of weekly buyer and seller activity compared to 2019. Next we pivot to our more detailed rolling weekly averages of daily new listings and pending sales counts. This detailed view shows more frequent change and movement than the weekly report, as this utilizes a rolling weekly average for each point (an average of the preceding seven days). This view also puts 2020 in context with the prior three years. The recovery in both seller and buyer activity are plain to see. However, it does appear as though this last week was a bit quieter for sellers. Buyer activity, too, seemed to plateau a bit most recently.
There’s a saying that goes “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you’re not moving fast enough.” To that end, this week we bring you something new. That’s right, a brand new graph for you data-holics and chart hoarders. These next two new additions to our weekly lineup highlight new listings and pending sales, but this time viewed as the change from the same week in 2019.
We feature week-to-week change in showings, new listings and pendings. We also have monthly figures compared to the prior year. And now we have weekly figures with year-over-year change as well. Now that we’re no longer comparing to the snowy spring and quick melt from 2019, year-over-year comparisons will have more legitimacy and consistency.
We’re seeing a similar pattern play out here in the weekly year-over-year numbers. We’ve talked ad nauseam about the “middle market” ranges and how they’ve performed better than other ranges at the far affordable or far luxury end of the spectrum. These weekly year-over-year comparisons confirm that declines in buyer and seller activity are less significant in the middle ranges than at the extremes. Put another way, homes priced between $350-750K fared the best for new listings. But homes priced between $250-500K fared the best for pending sales.
Thanks for reading and be sure to tune in next week.
Join MAR’s Director of Research and Economics, David Arbit, for a free weekly 1 hour presentation and discussion around the impact of COVID-19 on the Twin Cities real estate market Thursday, May 21, 2020 (2:00 PM to 3:00 PM). Registration is required.