The U.S. housing market is still not "buyer friendly" although, after a whirlwind year, it's finally heading in that direction, according to industry experts.
According to Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale, the July housing market is still "demanding quick decisions and top dollar" from buyers.
However, Hale projects that the "usual seasonal fall break in prices may return this year" — and sooner than usual.
For now, though, prices are still increasing. Over the past week, median listing prices grew 10.1% compared to a year ago, "marking 47 straight weeks of double-digit price growth," according to Hale.
The pace of price growth is still unusually high, Hale said, adding that median listing prices even hit a fifth consecutive record high in June at about $385,000.
By next week, though, buyers could start to see single-digit price growth, Hale said. Additionally, prices may even "ease off of summer highs" sometime this July or August. In 2020, prices didn't cool off until November, according to Hale.
To date, total housing inventory is still down, roughly 39% compared to a year ago. However, although the "housing market continues to be short on homes for sale, the steady increases in sellers are helping."
Right before the July 4th holiday, new listings hitting the market slipped by about 3% but experts expect this to be temporary.
"We normally see fewer new sellers ahead of a holiday, and this year was no exception," Hale said.
The markets that did see the biggest growth in newly listed homes compared to a year ago were Milwaukee, San Jose, and Cleveland, according to Realtor.com senior economic research analyst Sabrina Speianu.
Meanwhile, active listings are still flying off the market, about 23 days faster compared to a year ago, according to Hale.
However, this could change within the coming weeks.
"The gap between this year’s market and last is shrinking as we reach the point in the year when time on market generally begins to lengthen, and it’s being compared with 2020, when listings moved uncharacteristically faster late in the year," according to Hale.