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‘Online Buyers’ Contribute to Growing Home Sales

home flippingHome sales in July parachuted 8.7% over the same time last year, putting the breaks on a run of year-over-year sales drops stemming from COVID-19, according to ReMax National Housing report for July 20.

The lowest Months Supply of Inventory (1.7 months) in the 12-year history of the report aside, July’s market was on an insatiable roll, establishing a record for the greatest number of home sales—in any month—among the report’s 53 metro markets. In fact, contrasted to the end of May, when the year-to-date total was 8.9% behind last year's pace, home sales are merely 4.8% below last year. At this point, in four of the seven months of the year, monthly sales have surpassed last year.

 At 20, Omaha, Nebraska was atop the list of metro areas with the fewest number of days on the market. Following were Cincinnati, Ohio, 24, and Seattle, Washington, 25. Conversely, Des Moines, Iowa lingered on the market for the highest number of days, 24, with Augusta, Maine coming it at 91, and Miami, Florida, 90.

Compared to last month, among July’s survey of 53 metro areas, there was a spike of 18.6% in the overall average number of days of homes sales. What’s more, contrasted to last July it parachuted 8.7%. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania led the year-over-year sales percentage hikes at +25.9%, followed by Des Moines, Iowa, +25.2%, and Denver, Colorado, +22.3%.

The median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $285,000 in July, a bounce of 3.4% from June 2020. It was accelerated 8.6% from last year. At -4.0%, Honolulu, Hawaii was the lone mero area to experience a drop in the year-over-year median price sales. Birmingham, Alabama, +17.1%, Augusta, Maine, +14.1%, and Indianapolis, Indiana, +14.0%, paced 22 metro areas with year-over-year jumps.

Adam Contos, RE/MAX Holdings CEO, said the sharp acceleration in July sales—the best month of home sales in the country’s history—further reflects the “remarkable recovery” of the housing in the eye of the pandemic. "Home sales typically peak in May or June, but this year we're seeing an overlap of the spring and summer markets. "

A significant ongoing challenge for many: finding a home. Along those lines, compared to July 2019, there was a 30,1% spiral in July inventory this year, which topped the record. Additionally, it was the ninth consecutive month of double-digit, year—over-year, dips. December 2017 and January and February 2018 were the sole three months with lower inventory totals two winters ago.

Also history-setting, July’s 1.7 Months of Inventory marked only the second month in the history of the report with a supply under two months. Typically, during the summer, housing inventory is at its apex.

Perhaps not surprisingly, more buyers are shifting online in light of a greater number of distressed sales resulting from foreclosure moratoriums and forbearances stemming from COVID-19.

A growing number of Multiple Listing Services and real estate brokerages are cancelling all open houses while placing common-sense limits on property showings, appraisals and closing appointments, all of which typically require some degree of person-to-person interaction, said Auction.com VP, Market Economic Daren Blomquist. "These preventative measures will likely throw a wet blanket on retail home sales and price appreciation in the coming months, depending on how extreme, widespread and lengthy those measures turn out to be."

Blomquist said properties available for online auction accounted for more than 50% of individual property page views on the Auction.com website on March 18—the first day this year that online REO auction properties have accounted for more than half of all property page views. The share of page views for online REO auctions has continued to trend higher since then, hitting a new high of 65% on March 31.

About Author: Chuck Green

Chuck Green has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and others covering various industries, including real estate, business and banking, technology, and sports.

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