Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Weekly Housing Market Monitor: What’s Happening in the Housing Market?

Every week, NAR Research releases the Weekly Housing Market Monitor, tracking the state of the housing market and related industries in this unprecedented time.

Some highlights from the latest report:

Contract Signings and Pending Contracts

  • The housing market continues to recover strongly, fueled by low mortgage rates. Contract signings during the past four weeks (ending September 13) were up 23% from one year ago, a strong pace despite the slight decline from last week’s pace (26%) as we enter the fall season.
  • In the past four weeks (ending September 13), there were 9 new pending contracts for every 10 new listings, a slower rate than the 9.9 ratio through July 5.

Days on Market and List Price

  • Properties sold more quickly in the past four weeks (ending September 13), with the median days on market at 22 days, a slight increase compared to the prior four weeks when it was at 16 days, in part due to the seasonal slowdown.  This is far below the 38 median days on the market about one year ago.

  • On average, properties also sold at 97% of the list price in the past four weeks (ending September 13), a slight dip from the 98% ratio in the prior four-week period.

Home Price Growth in Metro Areas

  • Based on preliminary information of sales transactions during the four weeks ending September 13, the median existing homes sales prices in 40 areas tracked by NAR were up over 5% in 37 metro areas, with the strongest growth in the Bridgeport, CT, and Atlantic City. Prices rose year-over-year except in Ann Arbor, Michigan. NAR releases the official price figures on a quarterly basis.
Bar chart: Year-Over-Year Percent Change in Median Existing-Home Sales Price in the Four Weeks Ending September 13, 2020

Cost of Lumber Rising

Demand for lumber for both residential and commercial construction has pushed up lumber prices. The producer price index for softwood lumber was up 45% in July from one year ago.

  • According to the National Association of Homebuilders, lumber costs for the average single-family home have climbed more than 130% since April 2020.
  • This has resulted in an increase of more than $16,000 in the price of a new single-family home and $6,107 for a multifamily home.

Open Houses

  • Public interest in open houses dropped 49% last week compared to a year earlier. However, interest for open houses has increased significantly since the beginning of April (95%). At the local level, interest remains strong in Montana, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
Read the full report.