Real Estate

Signs Point to Better News for Buyers in the Home Market

As vaccination rates rise and Covid-19 cases fall in many parts of the country, daily life is slowly beginning to resemble what it looked like before the pandemic. The real estate market has a long way to go before it recovers from the steep price increases and inventory drops that have frustrated buyers in the last year and a half. But there are hints of change, if you look closely.

A few weeks ago in this space, we reported that bidding wars had slowed in August, when a smaller share of homes sold over asking price compared with July, according to Redfin. And’s September market report also revealed small but meaningful changes — for one, homes also took longer to sell than in previous months.

In September, the number of listings available across the United States was down about 22 percent year-over-year, and down more than 52 percent from September 2019, keeping the seller’s market rolling. But September’s year-over-year drop was smaller than August’s, which was nearly 26 percent.

The national median list price was up nearly 9 percent year-over-year and up nearly 21 percent compared to September 2019, again, not making it any easier to buy a home. There was, however, no change in the median list price from August to September after monthly increases all year through June, no change in July and another drop in August — more small hints of market correction.

Additionally, in nearly half of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, median list prices were down or steady compared with a year ago. Median list prices fell most in Milwaukee, down over 14 percent compared with last year, while in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit, list prices were down between 7.5 and 8 percent. In these areas, at least, buyers can sense some relief.

The 24 metros among the nation’s 50 largest in which prices dropped or remained steady are shown in this week’s chart, based on’s research.

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