December Saw Typical Slowdown in Activity, Report Finds


December 2023 exhibited a traditional end-of-year slowing in housing market activity, punctuated by many similarities to 2022, according to a new report from RE/MAX.

RE/MAX’s National Housing Report for December 2023 found that homes sold were on the market an average of 47 days, seven days longer than in November 2023. Sales averaged 98% of the listing price, the same as the prior year and slightly down from 99% in November. Also, the months’ supply of inventory was 2.5, slightly down from 2.6 in November.

In addition, December home sales dropped 7.3% year-over-year, and 2.3% from November. As in 2022, the number of home sales declined year-over-year in every month of 2023. Inventory slipped just 0.7% from December 2022 while dropping 10.4% from November. Inventory declined year-over-year each of the last seven months of 2023.

Key highlights of the 52 metro areas surveyed:

  • The number of newly listed homes was down 24.3% compared to November 2023 and up 2.7% compared to December 2022. 
  • The markets with the biggest decreases YoY were Manchester, New Hampshire at -31.3%, Anchorage, Alaska at -18.1%, and Indianapolis, Indiana at -13.7%. The markets with the biggest YoY increases were Bozeman, Montana at +75.6%, Houston, Texas at +22.0%, and Phoenix, Arizona at +19.6%.
  • The overall number of home sales was down 2.3% compared to last month and down 7.3% compared to 2022. 
  • The markets with the biggest decreases YoY were Providence, Rhode Island at -18.4%, Boston, Massachusetts at -17.9%, and Cleveland, Ohio at -17.2%. The markets with the biggest YoY increases were Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at +20.7%, Burlington, Vermont at +9.5%, and Richmond, Virginia at +6.8%.
  • The median of all 52 metro area sales prices was $400,000, down 1.2% compared to November 2023 and up 3.9% from December 2022. 
  • The markets with the largest YoY decreases were New Orleans, Louisiana at -6.3%, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at -3.7%, and Charlotte, North Carolina at -2.3%. The markets with the largest YoY increases were Trenton, New Jersey at +19.6%, Hartford, Connecticut at +15.8%, and Baltimore, Maryland at +12.6%.
  • The average close-to-list price ratio was 98%, down from 99% last month and flat compared to 2022. The close-to-list price ratio is calculated by the average value of the sales price divided by the list price for each transaction. When the number is above 100%, the home closed for more than the list price. If it’s less than 100%, the home sold for less than the list price. 
  • The metro areas with the lowest close-to-list price ratio were Miami, Florida at 95%, followed by a three-way tie between Bozeman, Montana; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and New Orleans, Louisiana at 96%. The metro areas with the highest close-to-list price ratios were Hartford, Connecticut at 102%, followed by a four-way tie between Burlington, Vermont; Manchester, New Hampshire; San Francisco, California, and Trenton, New Jersey at 101%.
  • The average days on market for homes sold was 47, up seven days compared to the average last month and flat compared to 2022. 
  • The metro areas with the lowest days on market were Baltimore, Maryland at 17, Washington, D.C. at 19, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 21. The highest days on market averages were in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at 94, Fayetteville, Arkansas at 81, and Des Moines, Iowa at 77. 
  • The number of homes for sale was down 10.4% from last month and down 0.7% from 2022. Based on the rate of home sales, the months’ supply of inventory was 2.5, down from 2.6 last month and flat compared to 2022. 
  • The markets with the lowest months’ supply of inventory were Trenton, New Jersey at 0.7, Seattle, Washington at 0.9, followed by a tie between Manchester, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. at 1.1. The markets with the highest months’ supply of inventory were Bozeman, Montana at 5.4, San Antonio, Texas at 5.3, and Miami, Florida at 5.2.

Major takeaway:

“There are many reasons to be encouraged about housing in 2024. The high mortgage rates and inventory lows of 2023 definitely made for a challenging market, but December data shows some positive signs for the new year,” said RE/MAX, LLC President and CEO Nick Bailey. “If new construction starts increase along with mortgage rates dropping, move-up buyers may start to explore their options, making room for new buyers. We believe there is a lot of pent-up demand, especially among younger people.”

Christopher Arienti—Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Executive Realty outside of Boston—agrees that it feels like there’s a new momentum to the market. “The Boston Metro market definitely saw its share of difficulty in 2023. Transactions were down almost 20% in most areas as folks reacted to the higher interest rates. The good news: As the mortgage rates came down at the end of 2023, agents and homebuyers entered our 2024 market with more optimism. If the buyers pool remains strong, our spring market could be exciting—and you can feel the excitement among our agents.”

For more information, visit https://www.remax.com/.





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