Here are the basics – the ARMLS numbers for October 1, 2021 compared with October 1, 2020 for all areas & types:

  • Active Listings (excluding UCB & CCBS): 7,649 versus 8,101 last year – down 5.6% – but up 11.3% from 6,873 last month
  • Active Listings (including UCB & CCBS): 11,622 versus 13,305 last year – down 12.6% – but up 5.8% compared with 10,988 last month
  • Pending Listings: 7,605 versus 7,999 last year – down 4.9% – and down 3.9% from 7,917 last month
  • Under Contract Listings (including Pending, CCBS & UCB): 11,578 versus 13,203 last year – down 12.3% – and down 3.8% from 12,032 last month
  • Monthly Sales: 9,374 versus 9,632 last year – down 2.7% – but up 3.6% from 9,045 last month
  • Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $252.19 versus $198.80 last year – up 26.9% – and up 1.1% from $249.41 last month
  • Monthly Median Sales Price: $410,000 versus $326,800 last year – up 25.5% – and up 2.2% from $401,000 last month

More short-term twists and turns in the market are creating a confused situation. Yes, we still have very much a seller’s market with supply inadequate to meet demand. However, the demand is increasingly dictated by investors and iBuyers rather than traditional buyers – the owner-occupiers that make up the heart of the housing market. Demand from iBuyers surged dramatically in June, July and August, but not all iBuyers behaved the same. Opendoor increased their purchases from 66 in August 2020 to 728 in August 2021, but their buying tailed off in the second half of September. Zillow went from 34 in August 2020 to 253 in August 2021. Their purchases peaked at 90 during the second week of September but have since dropped back a little. OfferPad has been less volatile with 82 purchases in August 2020 growing to 152 in August 2021.

All the iBuyers have sold far less than they have bought, meaning there are many properties in inventory. The could mean an increase in supply over the next several weeks.

Active listing counts (excluding UCB and CCBS) are moving higher again after a lull in August. There was a rise of almost 25% during July, so the September increase of just over 11% is not as dramatic. However, the underlying trend seems to be for buyers to find a few more homes for sale, which must be a relief for them.

Demand looked strong all the way through September, but not so much at the beginning of October. Under contract counts and sales numbers suggest we may have seen the best of 2021 demand. With supply rising and demand appearing to plateau, we could possibly be in for some cooling during 4Q. But do not expect prices to fall. Indeed September pricing was significantly higher than August and brings to an end the summer lull that started in June.