seller's market

This graph from Redfin captures the falling inventory of homes in Philadelphia - one factor contributing to the climate of a seller's market.

Real estate site Redfin released its August housing report last week, giving a number of insights into the housing market that come as no surprise to the professionals: they already knew it was a seller’s market. Home prices are high, and inventory is low – low enough that it actually cut into sales, which fell by 4.6 percent within incorporated Philadelphia. August this year saw 21 percent fewer homes on the market than in August 2015.

seller's market

This graph from Redfin captures the falling inventory of homes in Philadelphia – one factor contributing to the climate of a seller’s market.

Homes are also selling a lot faster right now. On average, last August, houses sold in about 54 days. This past August, it was taking only 41 days to sell a home within the city. Tied to the quick sale turnaround is the fact that buyers are competing over homes. As a consequence, the average home is selling for 15 percent over its initial asking price. Realtors confirm that buyers are having to come forward with their best offer right away, since many homes receive multiple offers all at once.

And this is on prices that are already higher than normal! Economist Kevin Gillen, senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation found that home prices in Philadelphia during the second quarter of 2016 were up by 13 percent over the period of April through June 2015. At that point, the median selling price for a single-family home was up to a record-setting $145,000. This does not include condos, which fall into another category.

The seller’s market trend is not confined to the city – Philadelphia’s suburbs and greater metro area are experiencing similar phenomena. The median sale price was up by 2.5 percent and inventory was down by slightly less than 20 percent compared with August of last year. It takes the average house in the metro area 46 days to sell, with the sale price coming in 15.7 percent over the asking price. Compare this to national statistics: across America, the average home sold for 93.8 percent of its original listing price last month.

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