According to Redfin, across 174 U.S. housing markets, the typical home sold in May 2018 went under contract in 34 days, breaking April's record of 36 days, which was the fastest month on record going back to 2010. Amid the speed, the national median home sale price rose to $305,600, a 6.3 percent increase from May 2017.
The number of newly listed homes for sale increased 4.3 percent compared to May of last year, driving a 3.6 percent increase in the number of homes sold. However, the overall supply of homes declined 5.4 percent during the same time period. Just 2.5 months of supply remained at the end of the month, compared to the six months that generally signals a balanced market.
Among homes that sold in May 2018, 27.6 percent sold above their list price, the highest percentage Redfin has recorded, indicating strong competition for the few homes available. At the same time, nearly a quarter of homes for sale had a price drop in May, the highest percentage of price drops since September of 2017.
"Prices are still increasing, but not at the same rate we saw earlier in the spring," said Redfin senior economist Taylor Marr. "The record percentage of homes sold above list price is at odds with the higher percentage of price drops in May. This tells us that while it's still very much a seller's market, price growth and rising mortgage rates may be pushing buyers to the limit of what they're able to pay."
For the seventh month in a row, San Jose topped the nation with price growth over 25 percent. The supply of San Jose homes fell 13.8 percent compared to last year. That drop is actually the smallest decline in a 16-month stretch of inventory declines, an indication of the intensity of San Jose's inventory shortage. A bit of good news for San Jose buyers: the number of homes newly listed in May ticked up 11.2 percent compared to last year.
After a prolonged period of inventory declines, some metro areas are finally seeing more homes hit the market. Washington, D.C. and Portland, OR have now had four months in a row of year-over-year increases in inventory. Seattle inventory increased for the second month in a row, up 17.4 percent in May compared to last year.
"Two months of growing inventory is a positive sign for Seattle buyers, but the previous 43 consecutive months of inventory declines won't be reversed overnight," said Jessie Culbert, a Redfin agent in Seattle. "Even so, we can already feel a slight easing in the market. Homes are still selling quickly and often over-asking, but where last May a seller may have gotten 15 to 20 offers, this May it was two to five." Other May 2018 Market Highlights
Denver was the fastest market, with the typical home going under contract in just six days. Seattle and Tacoma, WA were the next fastest markets at seven median days on market, followed by Boston and Grand Rapids, MI at eight median days on market.
The most competitive market in May was San Jose where 83.8% of homes sold above list price, followed by 79.6% in San Francisco, 76.2% in Oakland, 63.1% in Tacoma, WA, and 61.9% in Seattle.
San Jose had the nation's highest price growth, rising 27.6% since last year to $1,250,000. Tacoma, WA had the second highest price growth at 19.6% year-over-year, followed by Memphis, TN (16.9%), Las Vegas, (15.9%), and Rochester, NY (15.4%).
No metros saw price declines in May.
Thirteen out of 73 metros saw sales surge by double digits from last year. Warren, MI led the nation in year-over-year sales growth, up 38.5%, followed by Baltimore, up 31.8%. Camden, NJ rounded out the top three with sales up 24.7% from a year ago.
Buffalo, NY saw the largest decline in sales since last year, falling 17.2%. Home sales in Rochester, NY and Baton Rouge, LA declined by 16.6% and 12.8%, respectively.
Indianapolis had the largest decrease in overall inventory, falling 37.7% since May of last year. Rochester, NY(-37.1%), Buffalo, NY (-32.8%), and Milwaukee (-22.9%) also saw far fewer homes available on the market than a year ago.
Portland, OR had the highest increase in the number of homes for sale, up 35.3% year over year, followed byDetroit (28.4%) and Allentown, PA (24.4%).
To see trends in sellers' pricing strategies, we compare the list price to the Redfin Estimate, Redfin's automated home-value estimate. When sellers consistently price their homes below the Redfin Estimate in a market, this can indicate a common strategy to deliberately underprice to create a bidding war.
The median list price-to-Redfin Estimate ratio was 93.2% in San Francisco, the lowest of any market. This indicates the typical home for sale in May was listed at 94.1% of its estimated value. Only 5.9% of homes in San Francisco were listed for more than their Redfin Estimate.
Conversely, the median list price-to-Redfin Estimate ratio was 102.4% in Miami and 102.1% in West Palm Beach, FL, which means sellers are listing their homes for more than the estimated value in those metro areas. In Miami, 84.7% of homes were listed above their Redfin Estimate, the highest percentage of any metro.