Housing Market Update: It’s the Best Time to Buy Since Mid-September, As Mortgage Rates Fall and Sellers Drop Prices

By Published On: November 20th, 20235.3 min read
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May 2024

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Mortgage-purchase applications are up 3% week over week as homebuyers act on a few pieces of buyer-friendly news: Mortgage rates have dropped from 8% to 7.4% in the last few weeks, there are more homes for sale than there have been all year, and price drops are at a record high. 

Mortgage rates are falling quickly, dropping from a two-decade high of 8% to 7.4% in the last three weeks. A series of macro-economic events and indicators helped bring rates down last week: The Fed decided against another interest-rate hike, the Treasury announced plans to issue less long-term debt than expected and the job market is growing slower than expected.

Buyers should consider locking in a mortgage rate now

Redfin economists recommend that serious homebuyers consider locking in a mortgage now, while average rates sit at their lowest level since mid-September. That’s because while rates could continue their downward trend, it’s also possible they will increase soon. The trend could reverse if this month’s economic news goes the other way; for instance, rates could increase if the November 14 CPI report shows higher-than-expected inflation.

Though rates are more than double pandemic-era levels and some homebuyers are still priced out of the market, rates going from 8% to 7.4% shaves a few hundred dollars off a monthly mortgage payment in many areas. A homebuyer in Seattle, for instance, would pay $4,984 per month for the median-priced home ($775,000) with a 7.4% mortgage rate, compared to $5,240 with an 8% rate. 

“I’m advising buyers to lock in a mortgage rate as soon as they drop to a number where they can make the math work,” said Seattle Redfin Premier agent Hal Bennett. “Payments could go up hundreds of dollars overnight if the winds shift on mortgage rates, and all of a sudden you won’t be able to afford the home you want or you won’t qualify for a mortgage. This window of opportunity could be narrow.”

Buyers are already taking note: Mortgage-purchase applications are up 3% week over week. 

New listings rise, price drops hit record high

There are a few other glimmers of hope emerging for buyers, too. While inventory remains low, there has been an unseasonal uptick in the total number of homes for sale, which is at its highest level since the start of the year. New listings rose 1.5% from a year ago during the four weeks ending November 5, just the second increase since July 2022. 

Additionally, nearly 7% of home sellers dropped their asking price–the highest portion on record.

 Leading indicators

Indicators of homebuying demand and activity
Value (if applicable) Recent change Year-over-year change Source
Daily average 30-year fixed mortgage rate 7.41% (Nov. 8) Down from 7.88% a week earlier Up from 7.25% Mortgage News Daily 
Weekly average 30-year fixed mortgage rate 7.76% (week ending Nov. 2) Down slightly from 7.79% a week earlier; still near highest level in 23 years Up from 7.08% Freddie Mac
Mortgage-purchase applications (seasonally adjusted) Up 3% from a week earlier (as of week ending Nov. 3) Down 20% Mortgage Bankers Association
Redfin Homebuyer Demand Index (seasonally adjusted) Down 5% from a month earlier (as of the week ending Nov. 5)  Down 5% Redfin Homebuyer Demand Index, a measure of requests for tours and other homebuying services from Redfin agents
Google searches for “home for sale” Down 7% from a month earlier (as of Nov. 4) Down 21% Google Trends 
Touring activity Down 22% from the start of the year (as of Nov. 2) At this time last year, it was down 31% from the start of 2022 ShowingTime, a home touring technology company

Key housing-market data

U.S. highlights: Four weeks ending November 5, 2023

Redfin’s national metrics include data from 400+ U.S. metro areas, and is based on homes listed and/or sold during the period. Weekly housing-market data goes back through 2015. Subject to revision. 

Four weeks ending November 5, 2023 Year-over-year change Notes
Median sale price $368,500 3.7% Biggest increase in a year. Prices are up partly because elevated mortgage rates were hampering prices during this time last year
Median asking price $379,725 4.9% Biggest increase in over a year
Median monthly mortgage payment $2,732 at a 7.76% mortgage rate 11% $8 shy of all-time high set 2 weeks earlier
Pending sales 67,446 -9%
New listings 77,821 1.5% Second year-over-year increase since July 2022. The increase is partly because new listings were falling at this time last  year. 
Active listings 863,500 -9.4% Smallest decline since July. At their highest level since the start of 2023.  
Months of supply  3.6 months +0.2 pts.  4 to 5 months of supply is considered balanced, with a lower number indicating seller’s market conditions. 
Share of homes off market in two weeks  36.8% Up from 33%
Median days on market 34 -2  days
Share of homes sold above list price 29% Up from 27%
Share of homes with a price drop 6.8% +0.1 pt. Record high (tied with previous week)
Average sale-to-list price ratio  99% +0.4 pts.  Lowest level since April


Metro-level highlights: Four weeks ending November 5, 2023

Redfin’s metro-level data includes the 50 most populous U.S. metros. Select metros may be excluded from time to time to ensure data accuracy. 

Metros with biggest year-over-year increases Metros with biggest year-over-year decreases Notes
Median sale price Newark, NJ (14.4%)

Anaheim, CA (12.3%)

San Diego, CA (11.9%)

Cincinnati, OH (11.7%)

New Brunswick, NJ (10.8%)

Austin, TX (-5.7%)

Fort Worth, TX (-2%)

Tampa, FL (-0.9%)

Portland, OR (-0.6%)

Declined in 4 metros 
Pending sales Las Vegas (3.4%)

Anaheim, CA (1.1%) 

San Antonio, TX (-26.4%)

Portland, OR (-21.7%)

Sacramento, CA (-19.2%)

Virginia Beach, VA (-17.6%)

Seattle (-17.2%)

Declined in all but 2 metros
New listings San Jose, CA (17.8%)

Phoenix (16.1%)

Tampa, FL (10.4%)

West Palm Beach, FL (9.2%)

Montgomery County, PA (7.9%)

Atlanta (-20.7%)

Portland, OR (-16.7%)

Seattle (-12.3%)

Newark, NJ (-10.1%)

Providence, RI (-9.8%)

Declined in roughly half the metros

Refer to our metrics definition page for explanations of all the metrics used in this report.


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