Faced with a shortage of homes available on the market, buyers across the U.S. have been moving faster to make offers that are often above the asking price, according to a new report released Thursday by brokerage Redfin.
In December, the typical home went into contract in 54 days after entering the market, the fastest pace for the month since 2010 when Redfin started tracking this data. Seattle was the fastest among the 42 metro areas tracked, with half of all homes going into contract in just 19 days.
“We’ve never before seen homes turn over so quickly at a national level,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin. “This tells us that buyers are not deterred by low inventory, election uncertainty and slightly higher mortgage rates. If anything, these headwinds are motivating them to act sooner rather than later.”
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Nationwide, there were 657,800 homes for sale in December, down 12.7% from the year before, the largest year-over-year decline since April 2013. Low inventory kept the number of sales in check while pushing up the price. The median sales price increased 4.7% to $267,000 in December.
The median sales price in Seattle reached $459,975, increasing 14.8% since 2015 and leading all the other cities, according to Redfin.
Seattle has become one of the most popular west coast destinations for foreign buyers as they are looking for cheaper properties outside gateway cities in California and trying to avoid the additional 15% foreign buyers’ tax in nearby Vancouver.
The most competitive market was San Francisco, where 52% of homes sold above asking prices, followed by two other California cities, Oakland and San Jose. Seattle ranked fourth in this category, with 38.4% of homes seeing bid wars. Nationwide, 18.6% homes sold above listing prices, according to Redfin.
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