Realtor’s August 2020 Monthly Housing Market Trends Report

Realtor.com’s August housing data release reveals that a hot late-summer housing market has pushed home listing prices into double-digit growth territory for the first time since 2017. Homes continue to be quickly sold as pent-up buyer demand eats away at a small inventory of homes for sale, and sellers are still slow to bring new homes onto the market. 

Nationally, the inventory of homes for sale decreased 36.4 percent year-over-year in August, a faster rate of decline compared to the 32.6 percent year-over-year drop in July. This amounted to a loss of 493,000 home listings compared to August of last year. The count of newly listed properties in August also decreased by 11.8 percent since last year. While still well below last year’s levels, the rate of decline in newly listed properties has improved from a peak decline of 44.1 percent year-over-year in April, and a decline of 13.4 percent year-over-year last month. Housing inventory in the 50 largest U.S. metros overall declined by 38.1 percent year-over-year in August. This is an acceleration compared to the 34.8 percent year-over-year decline in July. Among the 50 largest metros, markets in the West have seen the greatest improvement in newly listed properties, now only down 3.0 percent year-over-year, compared to down 6.6 percent in northeastern metros, 14.4 percent in southern metros, and 18.0 percent in midwestern metros. 

“The biggest surprise I saw was that home prices are growing at a faster pace than we have seen in years,” notes realtor.com’s chief economist Danielle Hale. “Despite the economic environment the historically low mortgage rates have brought buyers into the market in a frenzy,” she adds.

Leading in year-over-year price gains is the Northeast region. Listing prices rose 19% in Philadelphia, 14.7% in Boston; and 12.2% in Providence-Warwick. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach market was the only metro to experience a decline in listing prices.

Let’s take a deep dive into the top markets. The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md metro performed the best. The median listing price there rose 18.6 % to $343,000. Homes sold 15 days faster than last August. The active inventory count was down 45 %. The already pricey Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H. metro saw the median listing price increase to $678,500. That was a 14.7 % increase.

Midwest metros including Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Kansas City also saw sharp price increases. The Cincinnati metro had a 17.8 % year-over-year median listing price gain. That put the median listing price at $327,300. Moving across the country to the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. metro the median listing price there increased 12.3% to $1,029,100. Hard to believe these stats as the pandemic continues.

Realtor.com’s Hale provides some takeaways moving forward. “We are seeing this buyer urgency because there was no spring buying season. Buyers are playing catch-up. We keep looking for signs of the market slowing and are just not seeing them right now.” That’s good news for sellers and real estate brokers.

The August Monthly Housing Trends Report found homes selling at their fastest pace in 15 months. According to the report, one of the drivers is a significant decline in inventory — at the end of August, there were nearly 500,000 fewer homes available for sale compared to a year ago. While the number of homes listed for sale in the top 50 largest metros showed a year-over-year 38.1% decline. That is even higher than July’s 34.8 %. This national number from realtor.com tells the story. Buyers in competitive Southern California markets including Los Angeles and San Diego can tell you trying to buy a home today is beyond stressful.

Metros With the Largest Listing Price Gains

MetroMedian Listing Price YoYMedian Listing PriceMedian Days on Market Y-YMedian Days on MarketNew Listing Count YoYActive Listing Count YoY
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD18.6%$343,000-1545-7.4%-45.1%
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN17.8%$327,300-544-25.7%-47.7%
Cleveland-Elyria, OH15.6%$232,500-549-25.3%-50.2%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH14.7%$678,500-1438-13.1%-34.4%
Kansas City, MO-KS12.9%$345,100051-29.7%-48.9%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA12.3%$1,029,100-135-2.8%-12.9%
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA12.2%$429,100-1046-15.7%-51.7%
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN11.8%$299,600-247-27.7%-55.9%
New Orleans-Metairie, LA11.7%$324,100-466-27.6%-35.8%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC11.7%$335,000-1840-5.2%-44.9%
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA11.6%$619,100-18535.3%-11.9%
Memphis, TN-MS-AR11.5%$265,100-648-23.5%-48.4%
Rochester, NY11.3%$245,000-1229-6.2%-40.0%
Austin-Round Rock, TX10.7%$400,000-942-8.6%-39.9%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA10.6%$459,100-946-13.9%-55.5%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV10.5%$525,100-1530-7.0%-43.7%
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI10.2%$279,100-237-21.8%-41.7%
Richmond, VA10.1%$358,000152-18.2%-44.0%
St. Louis, MO-IL9.5%$250,000158-14.7%-37.2%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA9.1%$354,100-547-18.2%-41.7%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO8.0%$539,600-636-10.2%-36.6%
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA8.0%$779,100-735-7.3%-43.9%
Oklahoma City, OK7.7%$269,900-150-18.1%-35.2%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA7.4%$1,199,900-103221.6%-26.1%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL7.1%$300,000-852-16.5%-40.9%
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC7.1%$370,100-943-18.2%-46.9%
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT7.0%$299,100-1944-7.2%-32.1%
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI6.6%$346,000644-12.0%-41.6%
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI6.5%$349,100-442-11.8%-34.5%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ6.5%$415,100-12393.3%-42.8%
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY6.5%$225,100443-1.0%-40.2%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV6.4%$343,600-8414.9%-11.3%
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA6.2%$528,100-637-8.6%-51.1%
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN6.1%$285,000-738-30.3%-50.1%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX5.9%$313,700-651-8.6%-39.2%
Birmingham-Hoover, AL5.9%$272,200-652-8.0%-36.3%
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA5.8%$500,100-442-9.3%-42.4%
Columbus, OH5.7%$316,400-735-17.7%-46.5%
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN5.5%$396,000-532-17.2%-32.5%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX5.3%$329,700-551-9.5%-29.3%
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD5.2%$350,000-1442-11.6%-51.6%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA4.3%$625,100-833-1.7%-27.3%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI4.2%$360,100-536-3.6%-28.4%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX3.5%$360,000-446-16.0%-40.1%
Raleigh, NC3.5%$386,200-1543-10.8%-37.9%
Jacksonville, FL2.3%$320,100-763-16.2%-35.8%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL0.8%$325,000-258-2.1%-17.5%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL-0.2%$405,100-593-3.2%-12.8%
Pittsburgh, PAN/A*$250,000-654-8.1%-34.6%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CAN/A*$999,100N/A*51-9.5%-26.6%
Of the largest 50 metros, 49 saw year-over-year gains in median listing prices in August, up from 48 last month. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (+18.6 percent); Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN (+17.8 percent); and Cleveland-Elyria, OH (+15.6 percent); posted the highest year-over-year median list price growth in August. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL (-0.2 percent) was the only metro to see a year-over-year decline in listing prices.

*Some data points for Los Angeles and Pittsburgh have been excluded due to data unavailability.