Real estate company Redfin recorded the highest demand for U.S. homes in four years in December, it said on Tuesday.
The brokerage and listing site saw record-breaking demand for homes last month, the highest since it began keeping track in January 2013 through its monthly Redfin Housing Demand Index. In December, the index soared to 124, a 15% jump from November and a 26% increase from a year before.
The index, which covers all price points, is calculated based on the volume of requests for home tours and offers through the company, then seasonally adjusted to cut out regular fluxes in home buying. In December, tour requests jumped 36% and offers increased 10% over the year before, the company said.
Redfin did not have a separate breakdown solely for luxury properties.
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Strong demand has been consistent across the U.S., with every metro area seeing above-average demand in December, with the exception of Portland.
Buyers were particularly active on the West Coast, according to Redfin, which recorded an explosion of demand in Orange County in the final months of 2016. Tour requests through Redfin have more than doubled since December 2015 and offers are up 28 percent, the company said.
“Part of what’s driving this surge in demand is the increasingly astronomical cost of renting in the area,” said Redfin real estate agent Keith Thomas, Jr. Tight competition in the county south of Los Angeles pushed buyers to search during the holidays, when they were hoping for a lull in activity, Mr. Thomas said.
Other metro areas with strong demand included San Francisco and Seattle, where growing concern about rising mortgage rates has triggered a sense of urgency, said Seattle agent Kyle Moss.
“Even compared to the very competitive years of the recent past, we see 2017 as being one of the most competitive years in recent history for Seattle real estate,” Mr. Moss said.
By the end of 2016, tight supply and strong demand put less desirable homes into play, said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson.
“We started seeing homes that spent time on the market, perhaps because they were not in the hottest neighborhood or needed renovation, finally get offers,” Ms. Richardson said. “With new listings on the way and this year’s buyers willing to take a look at older inventory, we anticipate that sales in early 2017 will be strong.”
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