Even 'Stale' Listings Are Finding Buyers

April 24, 2015

A limited number of homes for-sale has been plaguing housing markets for months. And despite recent gains, for-sale inventories remain a big concern, particularly when you "take the quality of the inventory into account," according to a new report by the real estate brokerage Redfin.

The number of both fresh and dated listings remains low, painting a bleak picture for buyers in many cities.

As of March 31, nearly 70 percent of the homes on the market were considered "stale"– homes that have sat on the market unsold for more than a month.

"A home that’s been sitting for 30 days is more likely to be overpriced, in need of renovation, or have other problems that prevent it from selling," according to Redfin.

"It’s normal for stale listings to make up the bulk of inventory, but now two things are happening. In some places, both fresh and stale listings are dwindling. And in a handful of cities, fresh listings are becoming a bigger share of inventory as high prices and competition lead would-be home owners to lower their expectations. That means even hard-to-love homes are finding buyers, who are chipping away at inventory."

The total number of unsold homes rose 5.3 percent in March to 2 million – reaching a 4.6-month supply pace, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. In Redfin's analysis of 50 markets, about 30 percent of the unsold homes were considered fresh listings.

"Buyers tend to become 'inventory blind' and tune out old listings, but that could be changing as desirable properties get fewer and further between," Redfin’s report notes.

"There’s a lot of fighting for that fresh inventory," adds Michael Alderfer, a Redfin real estate sales associate in Washington, D.C. "When new buyers find out they're going to have to beat other offers on the newer stuff, they adjust and start looking for things on the market 21-plus days."

Source: "Homes For Sale or Homes Gone Stale?" Redfin Research Center (April 23, 2015)