House sellers are pulling properties off the market at document tempo

A record number of homes are being delisted as sellers face a sharp drop in demand, according to real estate brokerage Redfin.

On average, 2% of homes for sale were delisted without being sold each week during the three months ended Nov. 20, Redfin said. That compares to 1.6% a year earlier and is yet another sign that the decade-long housing boom is over. 

In a complete reversal from the pandemic buying frenzy that prompted bidding wars and drove home prices to record highs, demand has slumped as mortgage rates have soared this year. Although borrowing costs have dipped slightly in recent weeks, many potential buyers have already been sidelined. As a result, sellers are increasingly taking their homes off the market after receiving low offers they aren’t willing to accept — or no offers at all.

“Some sellers are having a hard time grasping that we’re not in a housing-market frenzy anymore — it’s tough for them to swallow that they missed the boat on getting a high price,” said Heather Kruayai, a Redfin real estate agent in Jacksonville, Florida.

Pandemic boomtowns are seeing the biggest increase in homes delisted, particularly those in the Sun Belt. Sacramento, California, saw the largest jump in weekly delistings with 3.6% of active listings taken off the market on average during the 12 weeks ending Nov. 27, up 1.6 percentage points from a year earlier. Austin, Texas, followed with a 1.5 percentage point jump in delistings.

The Redfin analysis looked at 43 of the 50 most populous US metro areas.

With fears of an economic slowdown looming, Seattle-based agent David Palmer predicts bearish sellers may keep their homes off the market for a while.

“With the word ‘recession’ out there, there’s not as much optimism about spring being a better market,” Palmer said. “Now people are talking about trying again in another year or two once the economy improves.”

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