Published by REALTOR.com | February 9, 2023
Spring might be coming early—particularly for the housing market.
The biggest indicator that the largely frozen market is thawing is the massive spike of fresh listings that sellers added to the market, according to the latest data from Realtor.com®. New listings were up by a whopping 12.8% for the week ending Feb. 3 compared with the same time last year.
“It was the biggest jump in nearly three years,” says Realtor.com economist Jiayi Xu in her most recent analysis.
Overall housing inventory (of both new and old listings) shot up by 12.2% for the same period. All in all, this adds up to what Xu calls “more options for home shoppers.”
What does this inventory boon mean for the spring home shopping season? We’ll break down the latest data from the Realtor.com economists—and what the numbers mean for buyers and sellers—in this newest installment of “How’s the Housing Market This Week?”
Buyers have long been keeping a close eye on mortgage rates—and now sellers are, too.
“Sellers are closely monitoring mortgage rates,” says Xu, “and adjusting their selling strategies accordingly.”
Last fall’s rate in the high 7% range, the highest in 23 years, had many homeowners “locked in” to their low existing rates. If they wanted to sell their homes to buy new ones, they would have to give up their low rates and take out loans with much higher ones. This led many to stay put.
Rates have fallen since then by about 1 percentage point. According to the latest Freddie Mac data, rates for a 30-year fixed-rate home loan averaged 6.64% for the week ending Feb. 8. (Last week’s rate averaged 6.63%.)
For the past two months, mortgage rates have been stuck in the mid-6% range, refusing to make any significant swings up or down.
“Mortgage rates remain stagnant,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement.
So then why have so many sellers decided to head to market? Perhaps it’s because they now surmise that mortgage rates are going nowhere fast, and they are finally making their moves before rates possibly tick up again.