July 13, 2024

The Cities Where Homes Are Still Selling at Breakneck Speed—and the Ones Where Sales Have Slowed Down Most

Ahh … the birds are chirping, the days are getting longer, and the 2023 spring housing market is finally kicking into full gear.

But making predictions about this year’s prime selling season is like trying to see through a cold, thick, fog. Mortgage interest rates are at near 20-year highs, adding hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars to monthly mortgage payments. There aren’t many new homes coming onto the market. And in some markets, home prices are continuing to shoot up. Yet, in others, they’re beginning to come down.

So how are homebuyers and sellers supposed to make sense of it all?

One indicator of how an area’s real estate market is faring is how long it’s taking homes to sell. In the hottest, most competitive markets, where bidding wars and offers above asking price might still be the norm, homes are selling briskly—sometimes within days of being listed. But in other parts of the country, listings are languishing. That’s a sign that sellers could be cutting prices, and buyers have more negotiating power.

That’s why Realtor.com®’s data team took a deep dive into the numbers to uncover the median days that homes are taking to sell across the country.

“Fewer days on market is usually some combination of more demand in places with relatively lower supply,” says Hannah Jones, Realtor.com economic data analyst. “So, the homes that are available spend less time on the market.”

There were just five out of the biggest 250 metropolitan areas in the nation where homes were selling faster than they were last year. These markets were in the Rust Belt and Midwest, where homes are mostly cheaper.

Yet, homes are sitting longer on the market—generally in the more expensive parts of the country.

“The upside is that for buyers who are still looking in these markets, they probably have a little more negotiation power,” Jones says. “Sellers are going to be more motivated to sell.”

To find out how quickly homes are moving, we dug into Realtor.com’s housing data for the 250 largest metropolitan areas. We compared the median days on market (DOM) in March 2023 to March 2022. (Metros include the main city and surrounding towns and smaller urban areas.) We limited our list to just one metro per state to ensure geographic diversity.

So let’s take a look at the cities where you have some extra time to ponder your buying decisions—and those where you better act fast.

1. Erie, PA

Median list price in March 2023: $197,450
Median days on market in March 2023: 58
Year-over-year change in days on market: 14 fewer days

Homes in Erie, in the northwestern part of Pennsylvania, are selling two weeks faster than this time last year—and for buyers, that can make a substantial difference. This time last year, real estate in the Rust Belt city was spending 71 days on market, almost twice the national median figure.

It makes sense in these affordability-crunched times that Erie’s market would be picking up. Home prices were around half of the national median list price of $424,00 in March, though waterfront properties on Lake Erie can still command a premium. And it’s one of the only markets on this list where the number of homes for sale in March was fewer than in the year before.

“There’s definitely a huge shortage right now,” says local realtor Nanci Lore, at Marsha Marsh Real Estate in Erie.

Lorei says high mortgage rates are keeping some would-be local sellers from listing their homes—they don’t want to lose their low rates when buying a new house. So they’re staying put, which makes the housing shortfall even worse.

2. Traverse City, MI

Median list price: $486,475
Median days on market: 59
Change in days on market:: 7 fewer days

Traverse City, in northern Michigan on Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, has long been a popular Midwestern tourist destination. The area’s beaches, wineries, pretty cherry orchards, and historic lighthouses have given it a reputation for scenic beauty and a charmed lifestyle, making it especially attractive for buyers seeking a vacation home or place to retire.

It’s also more expensive than every other metro where homes are selling faster this year than last, with a median listing price about 15% higher than the national median listing price.

Buyers who act fast can get a four-bedroom house on half an acre for $319,900. Or they can splurge on this two-bedroom, waterfront home with panoramic views for $825,000.

3. Youngstown, OH

Median list price: $159,900
Median days on market: 50
Change in days on market:: 4 fewer days

In northeast Ohio, Youngstown was once an anchor of the steel industry, dotted with mills and factories. But when those businesses vanished, residents took a powder, too; and there were fewer buyers left to keep home prices strong.

But the affordable real estate has lately become a draw. List prices in Youngstown were up almost 20% year over year in March—the biggest price increase of any metro on the list. Despite the increases, homes are more than 60% less expensive than the national median.

The typical home in Youngstown spends 50 days on the market right now, tied for the fewest in our ranking.

Youngstown also stands out, because there are marginally more homes for sale in the metro compared to a year earlier. That gives buyers a bit more of a selection.

Those who are handy and don’t mind putting in some work can pick up a three-bedroom ranch for under $70,000. There are also plenty of move-in ready homes, such as this five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom house for $378,900.

4. Peoria, IL

Median list price: $140,950
Median days on market: 50
Change in days on market: 2 fewer days

Located on the Illinois River in the central part of the state, surrounded by fertile farmland, buyers here can find some decent, bargain-priced homes for sale. Peoria has the cheapest real estate of any of the places on our list. And that’s even with a 10% year-over-year price increase.

The median listing price in Peoria in March 2022 was $99,900—one of the last U.S. metros where median home prices were below $100,000.

Meanwhile, the number of homes for sale in Peoria in March was also down almost 10% year over year, which helps to explain why homes are selling fast there.

This stately, six-bedroom, historic home is listed for $295,000. Meanwhile, this four-bedroom, brick home is on the market for just $129,900.

5. Charleston, WV

Median list price: $152,090
Median days on market: 65
Change in days on market: 0 (flat)

Charleston’s extreme affordability, with home prices at less than half the national average, helps insulate it from the dynamics pushing up days-on-market numbers in other areas.

Joe Nekoranec, a real estate salesperson at Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate Services Great Expectations Realty in Charleston, says it all comes down to the limited housing supply.

“It’s just scarcity, plain and simple,” he says. “There’s hardly anything to buy.”

Nekoranec says buyers who couldn’t afford to compete during the frenzy of the pandemic market are still coming to Charleston because of how affordable it is.

“I’m seeing stuff that nobody would have bought a few years ago being sucked up by buyers,” Nekoranec says.

1. Huntsville, AL

Median list price in March 2023: $399,875
Median days on market in March 2023: 59
Year-over-year change in days on market: 49 more days

Huntsville, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, leads our list of places with the biggest increase in the number of median days the listing is on the market. Still, at 59 days, Huntsville is just five days more than the national average.

So what’s going on here? Well, at this time last year, the median listing in Huntsville—home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center—was spending only 10 days on the market. That was less than one-third of the national median DOM at the time.

There are more than twice as many homes available in Huntsville now than the same time last year. Sellers are slashing prices to attract buyers. And at under $400,000, the median listing price in Huntsville is still about 6% less expensive than national median.

Andy Dugger, the managing broker and director of business development at Amanda Howard Sotheby’s International Realty, says one of the biggest challenges right now is setting expectations.

“I think a lot of sellers still expect their house to sell in 11 days, like it was a year ago,” Duggar says. “So when you’re expecting that, four weeks can feel like an eternity.”

2. Chico, CA

Median list price: $431,175
Median days on market: 78
Change in days on market: 43 more days

Chico is a relatively small metro at the foot of northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, with a history rooted in ranching and farming. It’s also a college town, home to the Chico campus of the California State University system. And by Golden State standards, it has some bargain-priced real estate.

Unfortunately for sellers, there’s a surplus of inventory right n0w. Homes are now sitting on the market more than twice as long as they were a year ago. However, that could be good news for buyers looking in Chico.

This three-bedroom, storybook-style home, for example, is on the market for just $409,000.

3. Raleigh, NC

Median list price: $450,000
Median days on market: 53
Change in days on market: 42 more days

The Raleigh-Durham research triangle has been attracting new residents over the years. The area is home to lots of well-paying science, technology, engineering, and math-related jobs, as well as several top schools—including Duke University.

The market has also experienced a surge in new construction recently, leading to more homes going up for sale. The number of homes for sale in March 2023 is more than three times as many as there were a year ago. That extra inventory has given buyers the power to be a bit choosier.

This three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a front porch is listed at $315,ooo, while this three-bedroom, brick stunner is available for $438,000.

4. Hilo, HI

Median list price: $628,000
Median days on market: 88
Change in days on market: 41 more days

The Hilo metro includes all of Hawaii, otherwise known as the Big Island. Fun fact: there are four active volcanoes on the island.

High prices, too. In fact, median home prices are up 11% year over year. But as more workers are being called back into their offices, and fewer buyers are seeking out vacation properties, the number of days it takes to sell a home there has almost doubled in one year. The figure hit nearly three months in March 2023.

Buyers on a budget can score a small, three-bedroom house for $550,000.

5. Lebanon, NH

Median list price: $499,000
Median days on market: 70
Change in days on market: 40 more days

Abutting the New Hampshire-Vermont border, Lebanon has seen its home sales slow considerably—likely because they’re just so much more expensive than they were a year ago. The median price per square foot for listings here is up 30% year over year in March.

Sellers hoping they can be the exception to the slowdown are still pricing homes too high, says Ben Cushing, the vice president and regional manager of the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty.

They might be remembering the market as it was at the height of the pandemic or not realizing how much more leverage buyers have gained.

“Things were crazy a year ago,” Cushing says.

But the market has since shifted—big time.

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