American home buyers are having to pounce faster than ever to clinch a deal, forcing many of them to make snap decisions about what house to purchase and where to live.
Home sales between July 2020 and June 2021 sat on the market for a median period of only one week before going under contract, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors. That’s down from three weeks a year earlier and marks a record low in data going back to 1989.
The rapid turnover helps explain how the number of homes sold rose to multiyear highs during the Covid-19 pandemic, even as the inventory of homes for sale remained stubbornly low.
The pandemic caused a surge in home-buying demand. Households sought more space to work remotely and took advantage of low mortgage-interest rates.
At the same time, supply has been constrained. Caution about showing homes during Covid-19, a reluctance among some owners to enter the competitive housing market and the ability to refinance at low rates kept many prospective sellers from listing their homes.
Tools that enabled shoppers to tour houses remotely and schedule showings online also helped speed up the home-buying process in the past year, real-estate agents say.