Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Nearly Three Offers for Every Home Sold

Competition remains tough for homebuyers. According to NAR’s August  2019 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey,1 there were nearly three offers (2.3 to be precise) for every home that sold in August 2019. The number of bidders has averaged at nearly three since October 2015 when NAR started tracking this data.2 

Competition is usually tougher during the summer months of April and May when there are more offers (2.6 in May 2016; 2.7 in April 2017; 2.5 in April 2018).
Line graph: Number of Offers Received Per Sold Property

The survey also asks how many clients buyer’s agents took on a home tour and how many properties seller’s agents listed.  On average, respondents who usually work with buyers reported they took out five clients on a home tour, while respondents who usually work with sellers reported they listed three properties. This indicates that demand continues to outpace supply.

Line graph: More Client Home Tours Than Listings

Another NAR proprietary indicator that shows competition remains tough for buyers is the gap between the REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index and the REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index. The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index has been trending above 50 since 2012, which means that more respondents reported an increase than a decrease in buyer traffic compared to one year ago. Meanwhile, the REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index has been stuck at below 50, which means fewer respondents reported an increase in seller traffic than a decrease.

Line graph: Buyer and Seller Traffic Indices

In all states except North Dakota and Illinois, more respondents reported an increase than a decrease in buyer traffic, with “very strong” homebuying activity in Idaho, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.

Map: Buyer Traffic Index

In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, NAR asks respondents “Compared to the same month (January) last year, how would you rate the past month's traffic in neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make most of your sales?” NAR compiles the responses into an index, where an index above 50 indicates that more respondents reported “stronger” traffic than “weaker” traffic.  In generating the buyer traffic index at the state level, NAR uses data for the last three surveys to have close to 30 observations. Small states such as AK, ND, SD, MT, VT, WY, WV, DE, and D.C., may have fewer than 30 observations. The index is not seasonally adjusted, so a year-over-year comparison is appropriate.

How many offers did you receive on your most recent sale?  The responses about the most recent sale can be viewed as a representative sample of all closed sales. There were 960 responses during the August survey.