Housing Market Sets 7-Year Records in May

House graphic with line graph

Photo credit: myguysmoving.com



Nationally, the housing market is seeing an uptick in activity amid continuing low inventory. In May, a typical home went under contract in 42 days, a week sooner than a year ago, a record for the housing market not seen since 2009, according to Redfin.

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“After almost a decade of undersupplied housing stock, competition is fierce,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “We’re seeing the intensity of fast sales and bidding wars even in affordable markets like Grand Rapids and Omaha, where the typical home sold within two weeks last month.”

In Denver, homes closed in May in as little as 6 days, Portland and Seattle homes closed in 7 days. National housing prices rose an average of 4.3% year-over-year. During this time, sales jumped 7% while inventory fell 6.6%. The South and Midwest led the sales surge, with Detroit and Grand Rapids seeing big sales spikes of more than 50% each.

More Sales = Less Inventory

The rising sales along with ever-tightening inventory, especially affordable inventory, amounts to what the MacArthur Foundation `is calling a ‘crisis’. The MacArthur Foundation, with support from the Kresge Foundation and the Melville Charitable Trust released its fourth annual National Survey of Housing Attitudes survey.

In the survey, the housing crisis is no longer defined by homeowner distress and the number of foreclosures which came about after the subprime mortgage fiasco, housing crisis is about limited access to safe and affordable housing.

See Making Housing More Affordable

See Will Homes Become Less Affordable in Three Years?

In the MacArthur Foundation survey, 81% of respondents said affordability is a problem, while a third said they or someone they know have been foreclosed on, evicted or lost their housing in the past five years. Most survey respondents believe the affordable inventory problems are solvable and think policymakers should address them. Almost two-thirds of respondents that are aligned with both major political parties say housing hasn’t received enough attention during the 2016 campaign.

Many respondents supported a range of proposed affordable housing policies that affect rental and owned housing.

Policy Proposal % Support
Revise the tax code to help those earning $40,000-70,000 buy a home 81%

Expand housing support for low-income families with children




Let developers build more units if they include some targeted to lower-income families




Require communities to ensure 20% of housing is affordable to those earning less than $50,000




Ensure programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit provide income assistance to cover housing costs




Expand rental housing assistance




Give renters a federal tax break similar to the mortgage interest deduction





Redfin. The Housing Market Accelerated to its Fastest Pace on Record in May

Market Watch. Why there’s a new kind of housing crisis

MacArthur Foundation. How Housing Matters Survey




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