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New Listings are Ticking Up, With High-End Homes Beginning to Rally, Zillow Finds

New listings of high-end homes dropped the farthest and fastest when the coronavirus pandemic hit…

  • June 5, 2020

New listings of high-end homes dropped the farthest and fastest when the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., while affordable listings were less affected, a new analysis from online real estate company Zillow shows.

But as new listings have increased in recent weeks in response to strong buyer demand, more high-end homes are coming onto the market than any other type.

New listings of the most-expensive homes — the top fifth of the market — were the first to drop off and fell below last year’s rate before homes in other price tiers.

Expensive homes also had the steepest fall of any price tier, dropping 51.4% below last year by mid-April.

Meanwhile, listings of the most-affordable homes — where there typically is the tightest inventory — have fallen 32.1% year over year at their lowest point.

The number of new for-sale listings overall has shown improvement, up 5.9% last week from the previous week. New listings of the most-expensive homes — after dropping the most in March — are now seeing the biggest resurgence, up 8%.

The uptick is likely a sign sellers are feeling more confident because of improving buyer demand, as newly pending sales have also jumped up during the same period.

The split in listing behavior by price likely has to do with the reasons sellers typically list them for sale.

Younger sellers, who tend to sell less-expensive homes, typically face more urgency when selling — they’re more likely to have a job change or new child that prompts a desire to move.

Sellers with higher-priced homes may have more flexibility in their decision, leading many to take a wait-and-see approach in the early days of the pandemic.

Despite recent increases, the current rate of new listings is more typical of mid-December than the spring — usually the busiest time of the year for home shopping. Total inventory remains low as more homes are selling than in early April.

Total inventory is down 16.7% year over year — the biggest yearly drop since the pandemic began in the U.S. — and down 1.6% weekly as of the seven days ending May 3.

Limited inventory and the apparent uptick in demand is keeping pressure on prices, and Zillow expects only a moderate 2-3% fall in home prices through the end of 2020.

The median list price of homes on the market was $320,466 as of May 3, 0.4% higher than a year ago. Two months ago, list prices were up 3.3% annually. Fewer high-end listings and fewer new listings overall are contributing to the relative softness in list prices.