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Inventory has been a struggle for a long time, and the problem has been compounded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to realtor.com®’s December Housing Report, the number of homes for sale recently reached an all-time low, hitting below 700,000 for the first time after dropping 39.6 percent YoY—that’s 449.000 fewer homes for sale than last December.

“The shortage of homes for sale has been an ongoing issue for the last couple of years, but in December the combination of the holiday inventory slowdown and the pandemic buying trend caused it to dip to its lowest level in history,” said realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “Looking forward, we could see new lows in the next couple of months as buyers remain relatively active, but a surge of new COVID cases may slow the number of sellers entering the market. Newly listed properties have shown mixed trends. While December’s data points to possible relief on the horizon, this figure has been impacted the most in areas with large COVID surges, and consistent improvement will be key in order to get out of this extreme shortage. We eventually expect to see improvements in the supply of homes for sale, especially in the second half of the year. Until then, finding a home will continue to be a top challenge for buyers across all price ranges”

Newly listed homes, however, are only down 0.8 percent YoY—a big improvement from November’s 8.7 percent dip. Regionally for new listings, the Western and Northeastern markets are seeing the strongest improvements with more new listings hitting the market (+30.8 percent and +15 percent, respectively). The Midwest and South regions are lagging behind (+0.2 percent and -4 percent, respectively).

According to realtor.com, the following metros had the largest declines in new listings compared to last year:

– Nashville, Tenn. (-19.9 percent)
– Memphis, Tenn. (-18.5 percent)
– Charlotte, N.C. (-16 percent)

Home prices continue on an upward trend. According to the report, the median listing price has increased 13.4 percent YoY to $340,000—though it’s just below the peak of $350,000. And within the nation’s 50 largest metros, prices increased by 8.8 percent—nearly the same as the month prior.

These metros had the largest price gains:

– Austin, Texas (+20 percent)
– Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. (+17.2 percent)
– New Orleans (+16.8 percent)

Regionally, the Northeast leads in home price growth at +12.2 percent, followed by the West (+10.4 percent), the Midwest (+8.6 percent) and the South (+6.7 percent).

This holiday season sped things up a bit, with homes selling in 66 days on average in December—13 days faster YoY. And in the nation’s 50 largest metros, days on market was even faster at 56 days.

These metros had the fastest days on market:

– Virginia Beach, Va. (-28 days)
– Hartford, Conn. (-23 days)
– Louisville, Ky. (-23 days)

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