Don’t Let the Headlines Fool You about a Tiny Month-to-Month Uptick in Pending Home Sales: Still -21% from a Year Ago, -25% from 2 & 3 Years Ago. Have a Look at the Chart

Spring selling season volume lowest since Housing Bust 1.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

So you read in the headlines today that pending home sales rose “unexpectedly” for the third month in a row, and that’s another sign that the boom in the housing market is back, LOL. So let’s bring a dose of reality to these headlines.

The National Association of Realtors reported today that “pending sales” – “a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings” – ticked up 0.8% in February from January, to an index value of 83.2.

So wait… The index value was set at 100 for contract signings in 2001. So today’s value of 83.2 is down 16.9% from the index average in 2001. And wait… Compared to the prior three Februarys, the index value of contract signings plunged…

  • By 21% from February 2022
  • By 25% from February 2021
  • By 25% from February 2020.

The chart above (data via YCharts) shows how tiny the uptick was in February from January, and how huge the plunge was from the prior periods.

Outside of the lockdown April 2020, when the brokerage industry essentially shut down, pending home sales since last August have been at the lowest levels in many years.

Pending home sales by region, compared to February a year ago (map via NAR):

The NAR defines a “pending sale” as a transaction where the contract was signed but it has not yet closed. At this point, the deal can still fall through for a variety of reasons. If all goes well, the sale usually closes “within one or two months of signing,” the NAR says.

Actual sales – sales that closed in February, reported by NAR last week – have undergone a similar small uptick within what has so far been a dismal spring selling season, an uptick from the deep-dismal hole over the winter:

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  115 comments for “Don’t Let the Headlines Fool You about a Tiny Month-to-Month Uptick in Pending Home Sales: Still -21% from a Year Ago, -25% from 2 & 3 Years Ago. Have a Look at the Chart

  1. Bubbajohnson says:

    Amen , Trillions and Trillions and more Trillions after THEY raise the debt ceiling. This mess, created by evil Govern ment is farrrrrrr from over.

    • Leo says:

      Buyers strike this spring will make the sellers realize that Zestimates ain’t real.

      You have to either be a moron or an NAR sponsored troll to claim that this spring is a good time to buy.

      • Pea Sea says:

        The buyers’s strike (more like a buyers’ collective failure to qualify) is outweighed thus far this season by the sellers’ strike.

        There aren’t many buyers, but there are even fewer sellers, and those few buyers are definitionally the dumbest money in the market–they’re trying to buy when prices have only begun to correct. Hence the uptick, and hence the temporary return of bidding wars to some markets.

        • Sams says:

          Now, what will last, buyers strike or sellers strike?
          If new build stops, attrition due to floding, storm, fire, wildfire and other take away an amount of housing every year are you sure the market will not be in balance at todays prices?

        • AV8R says:


        • Leo says:

          Housing will breakdown this summer itself.

          Unlike etfs, bonds, treasuries, gold, the house has very high holding costs : mold, aging, maintenance, hoa, property taxes, insurance, no renters of single family houses etc.

          Also there is no seller strike and inventory will rise manifolds when the 5% empty houses held for speculation hit the market after realizing that “THERE WILL BE NO FED PIVOT ANYTIME SOON”.

          The Fed will keep tightening much longer than leveraged RE investors can remain solvent.

        • longstreet says:

          Volume is always a confirmation of price action
          Light volume reduces the importance.
          Heavy volume supports the reality of prices agreed to

        • longstreet says:

          The Fed broke the real estate market
          Next is the bond market
          Then stocks
          Markets can not function when any dropped phrase by a random unelected Fed person can obfuscate real market price discovery

      • ru82 says:

        I have a rental that Zestimates states the value is $122k. Redfin says it is worth $144k. LOL

        redfin worse than Zillow

    • gametv says:

      I have been saying this awhile. Long term interest rates are being held down by a lack of debt issuance due to the debt ceiling. If you look look back to the last time the debt ceiling was being challenged and then got raised you will see that long term rates were suppressed until about 2 weeks after the debt ceiling was raised. And that is when they took off.

      This time around the debt ceiling will be raised in July. Last time, the Federal Reserve was still buying assets (QE), but this time the Treasury will be selling alot of debt to get balances back up at the same time the Fed is performing QT and selling bonds. Add to that the new governor of the BOJ, who will stop suppressing Japanese bonds with unlimited purchases. Add to that the ECB is planning to increase their liquidation of bonds in the June timeframe. All of the global markets are fungible and cumulative, so when the BOJ stops buying domestic bonds/stocks, it will put more pressure on US Treasury yields to go higher, when the ECB starts to unload bonds, it will push up the Treasury yields, etc. Markets are ALL about supply and demand in the short term and we will be facing a time when there is ALOT more supply than demand, which simply means yields will need to spike much higher to attract buyers.

      I am anticipating a “sell everything” event will happen in the summer. Long term bond yields will start to go off the charts as people sell them. Banks will be defaulting or having extreme problems as long term rates shoot higher. Massive layoffs will happen. Consumer demand will tank.

      • American Dream says:

        Just read the debt ceiling deadline could get moved too August but what you’ve been saying makes sense to me.

        Looks like long term yields are trending back up in the short term. Funny that since the bank “crisis” long duration risk and yields have been correlated positively. I’m sure that correlation won’t last too long and something will have to give there.

        Could be a classic sell in May and stay away year ha time always knows best

      • Stillastudent says:

        Very nice analysis of the long-term downward pressure on interest rates. As you say, this could be coming to an end with a raised debt ceiling and QT instead of the QE. It may be a perfect storm for savers for the first time in twenty odd years.

        • gametv says:

          There was an article that said one of the investment banks had looked at global central bank activity in aggregate (I think I saw the article in Feb?). It said that Japan and China were still aggressively engaged in QE policies and the declines in the Treasury balances had offset the Fed QT policies in large part and that the net result was nearly a trillion of additional QE globally. I think the time period was Q4, although I dont recall exactly.

          Not sure if the analysis was perfect, but my point is that globally, we might not really be entering a point where central banks are actually liquidating bonds until the summer.

          So we have higher short term interest rates, but essentially have not really even begun significant QT on a global basis yet.

      • Kevin says:

        Looks like the Fed backstopping for the failed banks is turning into a moral hazard for the stock market. The animal spirit is back and the market is going up with abandon. When would the rich and the Fed get truly punished for their crime? A very crooked world we live in.

        • Einhal says:

          If that’s the case, since stock prices are driving inflation (in my opinion), it’ll tick back up. Until stock prices are brought down, inflation will continue.

          “Investors” have basically interpreted the Fed’s move with respect to Silicon Valley Bank as “we’ll ultimately bail out everything so there’s no pain, so we’ll start printing again and drop interest rates back to zero at the first hint of a recession.” If that is ultimately what the Fed does, then the stock investors are right, and the dollar is dead.

          If it’s not, then they’re catching a falling knife.

      • Apple says:

        Has banning anything ever really worked?

      • Hank says:

        gametv, you use alot… a lot. It’s two words not one. 😁

      • Longstreet says:

        “how do they handle 23 million folks who don’t want to be citizens. ”

        Watch a video of the Germans marching into Czechoslovakia in 1938…flowers down the gun barrels.

        The Red Chinese will be welcomed by many……who will flip….”we are all Chinese now.”

      • Zaridin says:

        China is too wise to launch any serious reunification effort when the US economy is taking a dip, especially prior to a major election cycle; they understand there is no better way to distract one’s public from domestic issues than having a convenient foreign enemy to rally against. Their *best* timing would be when we are coming out of a recession/depression – who wants a war that might knock a recovering economy off-track?

        I am, of course, referring to a limited war. Anything massive (ala, WW2) would have a stimulating economic effect, but might also involve nukes, in which case pick your poison.

        • Steponbugs says:

          Isn’t there a war going on now? We may not be sending (a lot of) troops to support the Ukies but we’re sure as hell running our inventories down in a big dam hurry, and it’s not just the old stuff that was gonna be mothballed anyway.

      • Anthony A. says:

        I’m with Longstreet on how they will handle 23 million people. They have had practice handling 1.5 billion of their own..,,

      • Sams says:

        Just note that economy in China is not organized as it is in the USA. The central bank in China do not work in the same way as the FED. At least the way money is issued is different.

        With a takover of Taiwan a lot of the chip factories are in China, that may pose a problem for the “West”.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Me too AA:
        Very clear history of what the communists did when they took over China from the nationalists who then went to Taiwan:
        Lined up EVERYONE,,, and made them show their hands; those with callouses were allowed to go back to their work,,, that, to be clear, was the same work they had been doing for generations.
        Those without any callouses,,, ”good bye, AKA ‘God be with you.”’
        Best information seen was about 20 million went to their maker(s) in a few months…
        AFAIK, still the only time in recorded history that drug addicts were either gone or got enough presence to stop their addictions…
        Think it won’t or can’t happen in USA???
        Think again!!!

    • Djoern Boisenbaum says:

      Hey Wolf, i hope you recognize that the absolut number for inventory shows we are historically low? Let me know if you agree and what your thoughts are! Recognizing this will help to understand why pending home sales are UP. Thank you and keep it up!

  2. American Dream says:

    Looks like a bounce and NOT a recovery.

    After a year of straight down it is expected to see some bounces after all nothing goes to hell in a straight line!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      This is the spring selling season, the biggest time of the year, LOL

      • ralph meissner says:

        I have been a real estate developer in New England for 37 years. Right now, I cannot build homes fast enough to meet demand.

        Inventory of homes for sale in my area is down 70% from pre pandemic levels. Most of the existing homes for sale need work.

        Home sales are “down” because there are so few homes for sale….

        • Phoenix_Ikki says:

          Haha Wolf, see if I don’t need mainstream headline to fool me I am missing out.. instead I count on comments like this on this page to know I am missing out, along with many that’s saying the same thing about SoCal

          Oh well, if I miss out now I’ll just be that sucker that enjoy 5% yield low risk treasury yield in Tbill.

        • gametv says:

          ralph – i agree that there is an extreme lack of home sales, yet home prices are still falling.

          it will take a while for supply to increase. in the meantime, the really dumb buyers are overpaying, by alot.

          there will be no interest by the general public in bailing anyone out this time around.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          ralph meissner,

          Obviously, I don’t know your company. But all the data from builders and from the Commerce Dept contradict your claims.

          The big builders are working off their backlog. For Q4, they reported that sales orders plunged by 40%-50% yoy across the board. In the early weeks of Q1, sales orders have risen from those horrible lows but remain well below the sales orders of Q1 2022. Those sales orders are future revenues and earnings, when they complete and deliver the homes.

          The revenues and earnings reported for Q4 were projects that they completed, delivered, and closed in Q4 but “sold” many months earlier. The backlog is still big, and they’re still working off their backlog likely into the latter part of the second half.

          But sales orders (future sales) are nowhere near where they were a year ago. The Census Bureau has some data on “new residential sales” (excluding cancellations): -17% yoy

          In terms of your “sales are down because they’re no homes for sale”:

          For the last 12 months, new homes for sale at all stages of construction have been at the highest levels since 2008, though that has come down some as builders are working through their backlog:

        • Pea Sea says:

          “along with many that’s saying the same thing about SoCal”

          Cover your eyes and stick your fingers in your ears if you insist, but SoCal is going in the wrong direction for the time being. It’ll revert, but there’s no sense in being delusional about it.

        • JK says:

          I’m sorry, I’m sure there are drops in specific areas, but not here in Sacramento. When the rates were getting increased several months ago, yes, there was a little drop on “some” homes, but not all. Lots of pending in zip codes that I follow.

          I spoke to a friend of mine, Indian guy, who knows other Indian guys buying homes. There is a whole neighborhood of homes going up and a specific builder is building 21 homes and much more applications to buy these homes. He’s not selling to investors and only those very sound in finances. I’m sure there are areas where homes are being discounted more than the average, but here in greater Sacramento region, I just don’t see it.

          If you want to really follow this (what I do) is go on and type the zip code that you are curious about and follow it. This is not rocket science. For example, your neighborhood. Watch the price per sq foot for the condition and type of property.

        • rojogrande says:


          This is from Redfin:

          “What is the housing market like in Sacramento today?
          In February 2023, Sacramento home prices were down 4.5% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $468K. On average, homes in Sacramento sell after 40 days on the market compared to 8 days last year. There were 321 homes sold in February this year, down from 500 last year.”

          I’m not in Sacramento, but that isn’t consistent with what you’re seeing. It’s the first thing that came up after I googled “Sacramento home sale price and days on the market trends”

          Maybe in some small subset of Sacramento the trend is different. I looked up the CAR and while some of the numbers were different from Redfin, they were generally consistent with sales down 34.4% YOY and prices down 7.8% YOY.

        • SnotFroth says:


          I keep an eye on Sacramento and I feel it is heating up again too. I see homes getting listed at 10% over 2022 peak (we’ll see if they sell) and no more price cuts.

          Funny you mention Redfin because their CEO was on CNBC a few days ago and he spontaneously mentioned Sacramento as an area with recent surprising strength.

        • 1stTDinvestor says:

          Ralph what you’re also not stating along with your comment is all of the other missing yet super significant details. Such as the price range of homes that you’re building, in the specific region or area you’re building them. In certain price ranges there is restricted supply but in other price ranges there’s a glut. You also fail to identify if you’re just working off of a backlog. You can’t just make a blanket statement like that and not expect some data to slap you in the face.

        • rojogrande says:


          You may well be right, I looked it up because JK said finding information on the market isn’t rocket science. Redfin’s data was consistent with the California Association of Realtors for February. (referred to by JK) for whatever reason references list prices, which they say are down 4.8% YOY in Sacramento. They also say that days on market has increased from 36 days to 62 days YOY.

          It is the spring selling season, so there is a tailwind there. We’ll see what the March data shows.

        • Longstreet says:

          I agree.
          Nothing is really trading around me. Low volume.
          What is different in this market is the inflation…and especially the service inflation..
          the cost of replacing a house is still VERY HIGH……
          and people like to clutch their largest hard asset in an inflation…especially if they are borrowing for 30yrs at 3%.

      • BENW says:

        And those “MASSIVE” sales declines YOY have only led to a measly -7.6% decline YoY in possibly the most overvalued real estate market in the country.

        In no way is there anything close to resembling a nationwide real estate recession. 25% sales declines means nothing without at least a 10% nationwide housing price decline which IS NOT happening broadly by ANY measure.

        The mere fact that the Fed will backstop everything, and Congress will trot out rent & mortgage relief whenever the labor market actually hits the skids shows that asset bubbles bursting spectacularly are the thing of the past.

      • Zaridin says:

        …and I get immense comedic joy out of reading the “tap-dancing” present in any official report issued by my local agents in the Mid-atlantic, all of which can be truncated to “Market is recovering. Sellers still hold the cards. Buy now!”

        I mean, the sheer number of ways they are spinning this is almost impressive. From today’s report on what the Fed is up to, the concluding line was: “Even though higher rates could mean home prices could decline some, don’t expect prices to fall dramatically. Low inventory continues to limit buyers’ leverage and sellers still have the upper hand in most markets.”

  3. Tony says:

    Zillow’s Zestimates have been rising here in the Midwest over the last week, including on homes listed for sale. They had been gradually decreasing up until now.
    Therefore—according to Zillow— the bottom is in, and we’re back off to the races.

    • monkee says:

      Definitely a reliable source, lol

      • Leo says:

        Tony, if you trust Zillow, just quit your job, go out and spend your new found wealth. Buy another car, go on a cruise, throw a few parties. Your house will earn to make you prosperous!


    • Fed Up says:

      Yep, they are part of the FOMO propaganda. Zillow couldn’t even make it as an ibuyer their analysis is so bad lol.

    • Halibut says:

      Ok, had to check. Yup. Zillow says I’m up $10,626 in the last 30 days 🤣

      • Cold in the Midwest says:

        Cool. I’m up too. Time to head to Vegas. After all, next month will be just as good. Party on.

  4. SkiGuy says:

    I am a Realtor, and choked on my coffee when I opened my email from the National Association of Realtors with the headline: “Housing data solidifies broad market recovery.” The echo chamber I have to work in every day is a joke. So this is the message lemming agents will deliver to their clients. It’s a freaking joke. I’m in the Park City, Utah market and prices are surprisingly resilient, with inventory still close to half normal (pre-Plague), but transaction counts are down 40 percent. I am waiting for the shoe to drop in this market, but it’s staying very stick pricewise. And the big cash buyers are still stepping up in the $10 and $20mm range. Which shocks me.

    • SkiGuy says:

      And that same email included “new home construction” increases as one of the ‘positive’ factors. LOL. The big national builders are going to get smacked, and good.

    • Mt dreamin says:

      Shhh…… you’re not supposed to speak the truth so loud

      • Mark says:

        “Shhh…… you’re not supposed to speak the truth so loud”

        and you’re moderated !

    • Misenome says:

      People that could afford 10-20mm houses aren’t the ones hurting. They made out like bandits the last few years and continue to get bailed out. With the recent bank stress, I fully expect lending to tighten even further. There is always a time period where prices seem to float on air before the bottom falls out.

    • Bay Creature says:

      The chamber is still echoing here in San Francisco.

      This is from a realtor’s “market report” I received this week:

      “As we stated at the beginning of this market summary, buyers who are pre-approved or paying cash are currently in an excellent position to make offers at what could be the most opportunistic time in years to purchase a home in San Francisco.”

      • Wolf Richter says:

        “… what could be the most opportunistic time in years …”

        That’s true, you can buy at the lowest most opportunistic price in years in San Francisco. But you can buy at an even more opportunistic price later.

    • Zaridin says:

      Addiction to easy money is as deceptive as addiction to everything else; the addict will insist all is fine right up until the moment their addiction puts them 6 feet under.

  5. Michael Engel says:

    Bubble collapse or a backbone to send prices higher.

  6. First and Long says:

    As a mortgage loan officer, one look at my spring pipeline of pre-approved buyers and deals in progress will tell you that this is going to be a dismal selling season. It’s still like a neutron bomb hit the housing market.

  7. 1stTDinvestor says:

    Thanks for this, I’ve been getting inundated with emails this past week with reports from real estate brokerages showing the YOY numbers that still shows prices are “going up” and the “uptick” in sales. This kind of deception should be illegal, they’ve got some many buyers and sellers fooled with their nonsense numbers. The 3rd chart you shared says it all. I would lose a lot of friends if I shared this post, lol. My guess is when May and June comes around, I won’t see any of those reports hitting my inbox. Realtors will be like, “Oops, we somehow forgot to send out our report this month!”

  8. Brutus says:

    I would appreciate if things would go to hell in a handbasket a bit faster. I sold in December, relo-ed and would like to buy a house…. People still pricing like its March of LAST year. Can confirm sequential relisting at lower prices and ridiculously priced homes sitting on the markets for months. Pricing in my area is confounded by large (1 acre) lots, with land prices trying to find sanity as well. Pssst! Lowering a price by 1% isn’t going to incent anyone to make you an offer….

  9. B says:

    This would be a compelling argument if you included inventory numbers as well. Pending sales are down, but so is inventory generally as well. From what I have seen it is “in-line” on a percentage basis.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      All you have to do is click on the link I gave you above the last chart of existing home sales. There is all kinds of data in the article about inventories, listings, and supply, including these two charts:

      Median days on the market before the property is sold or the seller pulls the property off the market, at 67 days, was up by 50% from a year ago:

      Active listings (= total listed inventory minus properties with pending sales), at 578,000 properties, were up by 68% from a year ago. In absolute numbers, active listings remained low by historical standards, as potential sellers are still trying to outwait the increase in mortgage rates, and as many potential buyers have pulled back:

  10. phleep says:

    Big pause. Everybody is waiting for a pivot. A trickle of sellers particularly will show up, as they run out of cash. Let’s see what hits a bid.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      You really can’t fix stupid…. there will always be last min FOMO buyers demand, I am still seeing that in SoCal sadly….

      My passive nihilism side see the only fix is if market completely blows up to have any chance for the mass to finally wake up.. this might or might not happen, definitely not holding my breath

      • Zaridin says:

        Untrue. We fix stupid by actually letting natural consequences happen to those who do stupid things.

        Which is why this whole Too Big To Fail thing was, at a very basic level of psychology, a huge mistake.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Right Arm Z:
          When and IF we allow our culture to go back to being a ”meritocracy” FIRST and foremost,,,
          WE, in this case ALL of WE USA PEONs lower on the ”net worth” and income scale will continue to proceed to being/becoming the best ”shining city/nation/state on the globe” that we were on a clear path to being…
          How some ever,,, due to many influences, some of which that certainly appear to be following the ”dicta” of some of the folks on the radical left of the 1960s era,, at this point in time it will very likely take something similar to go back to a meritocracy,,, again, similar to what is happening in many nations/states far away geographically…
          SO sorry to add that many on here, not to mention the ”sheep” have NO clue at all what has happened to our USA meritocracy in the last few decades.
          This has been widely reported on the various and sundry ”opposition” press venues, including those majorly ”repressed” or censored,,, etc., etc.

        • c_heale says:

          It never was a complete meritocracy. It just appeared it was for certain sectors of the population.

          But now it’s a meritocracy if you have the right connections!

  11. phleep says:

    People like myself and my family members who bought houses decades ago, got such good terms, and housing (as rentals) is still so pricey, there is little incentive to let go. My home loan payment, almost all done now, is under $375/mo. Selling would not put me in a better position, by a long shot. Those still-inflated dollars would evaporate quickly. Hunker down, is the best value, and the order of the day. Cash reserves again prove their value, top keep the wolf from the door. (Sorry Wolf, you are always welcome!)

  12. boikin says:

    I am glad you wrote this article, since the news told me this morning that bidding wars are constant and prices are only going down on the west coast and even their only by a tiny tiny tiny bit…Buy! Buy! Buy!

    Then again I am pretty sure their target audience will probably never come to this site :-(

  13. Alec says:

    Just plot with 3 month moving average and whoa

  14. Propheticus says:

    Here is an example of a no-frills, mass-produced crap shack not far from my no-frills mass-produced crap shack that sold just last week in my neighborhood:

    The home features “luxury vinyl plank flooring” and has a home energy score (HES) of 4.0 (see Overview). Yes, here in the city I live in, the seller is required to obtain an HES prior to listing. The link to HES is provided at the end of the overview section.

    In Oregon, listing, pending and sales data are all readily available on Zillow.

    Listing price: $529,900
    Sales price: $580,000

    • Wolf Richter says:


      In February, they listed it about $50k below the January “Zestimate” ($571k), and a month later they finally sold it a few pennies above the January Zestimate.

      That’s exhibit A why “over asking” is a BS number. Because lots of sellers list below where they think it will sell to start a bidding war.

      I have no idea why people keep dragging this “over asking” cherry-picked BS into here, as evidence of what? That they don’t know how the industry operates and to let everyone know that they fell for it?

    • Wolf Richter says:


      So here is another one, just the first one I picked out in the same price category in the same zip code as your cherry-picked example:

      Listed Nov 4: $609K
      Price cut Nov 15: $599.9k
      Price cut Feb 17: $584.9k
      Price cut: Mar 21: $569.9k


      That’s why I’m so freaking tired of this cherry-picked BS.

      • Propheticus says:

        “STILL NOT SOLD!!!”

        Perhaps the reason this listing is still not sold is because it is still not built. The listing is “Virtually Staged.”

        From the listing:
        “Meet with the professional designer and select your interiors!”

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Thanks for pointing that out. So I went to look for new construction in that zip code, and there is a ton available. Including a whole bunch just in that development.

          Lots of new construction, prices being cut left and right. Supply problem? Nah. Demand problem at those prices.

          So I then looked at an existing SFR in the same zip code and roughly the same price category.

          Are you ready?

          Here we go:

          Oct 1: listed at $729k
          Nov 9: price cut to $695K
          Jan 31: price cut to $680k
          Feb 16: price cut to $659k

          Been on the market almost 6 months, price cut three times, STILL NOT SOLD


        • 1stTDinvestor says:

          Also you fail to give any context. My understanding of that area is that the price range of $500K to $600K is actually considered “affordable.” Depending on what market, and what price range is considered “affordable” in that specific market, there is still a high demand. What what about in the higher price ranges? Anything lower than $500K in that market is a sh*thole gut rehab project or a townhome. People are still going nuts for a home in an “affordable” price range. For that market, this is affordable.

    • Nunya says:

      $387 per SF!!! Holy baloney!!!

  15. grimp says:

    The schtick is relentless from the National Association of Gaslightors.

    When things were cooling off in the 2nd half of last year, of course they dismissed it as seasonal.
    Now, with a microscopic increase in sales m-o-m – it’s let the good times roll (but not attributed to seasonality).

  16. Lumberguru says:

    Spot on says this Wholesale Lumber Broker of 23 years.

  17. Arthur says:

    The ol’ “statistics can prove any narrative” is alive.
    Sales are down in our area mostly because inventory levels are low. You can’t sell what’s not for sale.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Inventories are down because there are NO BUYERS at these prices, so it doesn’t make sense to list at those sky-high prices, and the market is frozen. To sell something, sellers will have to cut the prices further, and not many want to do that.

      If there were insufficient supply, prices would shoot higher. But prices are falling and active listings are far higher than they were last year, and median days on the market are up… Not a sign of an inventory shortage but of a demand shortage at those prices.

      • Einhal says:

        Yes. To me, the salient point is that a sizeable percentage of houses are still vacant. If they all get put on the market, because the owners give up their “pivot” dream or otherwise get forced to sell because they realize that their carrying costs are more than they are really willing to spend waiting, supply and “inventory” will skyrocket, and prices will plummet.

        Same story every time.

      • Phoenix_Ikki says:

        Oh Wolf, you’re feeding the “housing inventory is low” troll….probably better to straight up delete than to respond.

        If they are serious, one look at all the articles you have published on housing will draw a clear conclusion as to why inventory is low and relationship with pricing. Well unless they are so truly stupid to understand it…in that case my sympathy.

        • Pea Sea says:

          “Oh Wolf, you’re feeding the ‘housing inventory is low’ troll”

          Housing inventory IS low. There’s no sense in being delusional about it.

          Even you know that housing inventory is low:

          “one look at all the articles you have published on housing will draw a clear conclusion as to why inventory is low”

          You know housing inventory is low, I know housing inventory is low, Wolf knows housing inventory is low. Getting mad at people for pointing it out won’t make it stop being low.

          If you want to do something useful, discuss *why* it’s low. Wolf does this when he points out that sellers have little incentive to list when there’s so little demand at these nosebleed prices combined with “high” (actually normal) mortgage rates.

          When demand is this inelastic, potential sellers have two choices: hold (delist or don’t list in the first place), or lower the price. Which of those things a potential seller does depends largely on what he thinks are his chances of getting his desired price in the future. Right now, sellers still think their chances are good, so they hold. When that psychology changes, their choice will change.

      • Slickfish says:

        The last three times I’ve put a house up
        For rent in the Midwest in the last year and a half I’ve been flooded with at least a half dozen overqualified applicants per house in days. I’m usually lucky to get 1 or 2 and this is after monthly increases to asking rents that made ME cring. Three tenants now that sold and unwilling to buy at todays prices and interest rates. I’ve never seen this in renting to 50 or so people in the last 15 years. Something has to give at some point.

  18. Gen Z says:

    The 5-year BOC yield went down for a while, and everyone believes that Canada will return to 1.99% mortgages and million-dollar homes in the middle of nowhere.

    I really hope that the FED continues to do their mandated duty to combat inflation with rate hikes.

    Last year, a billion-dollar telecoms company named Rogers Communications laid of hundreds, if not thousands of staff when interest rates were still low. They laid of temporary contract workers working for minimum wage. The minimum wage was increasing and they laid off a bunch of people, mainly newcomers and permanent resident immigrants.

    It just shows that the Canadian corporations will lay off regardless of how high interest rates are.

    But who will afford the Canadian million dollar homes if Rogers and billion-dollar corporations are laying off a massive amount of workers to save a few pennies to make their CEOs and shareholders richer?

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      “The 5-year BOC yield went down for a while, and everyone believes that Canada will return to 1.99% mortgages and million-dollar homes in the middle of nowhere.”

      When I hear something like this and how people run away with their idiotic assumption, I can’t help but think of how applicable this quote is for a lot of FOMO buyers..

      “”Democracy basically means of the people, for the people, by the people. But the people are Retarded” -Rajneesh Osho

      • Richard Cranium says:

        Osho, the “rolls Royce guru”

        That is a tempting quote though, and if expounded upon by the founders of the United States, it should be noted that they very much disagreed with the idea of mob rule via pure democracy. “Freedom via idiots” if you will.

  19. Lucca says:

    Thanks Wolf for bringing another dose of reality to today’s housing market headlines.

  20. Expat says:

    People need to be tested to drive a car. But no tests to go into $500k debt and sign a mortgage written by the rapacious lawyers trained at Goldman Sachs because you believed the BS on CNBC and the propaganda from the NAR.

    • Augustus Frost says:

      False analogy. The purpose of driving tests is firstly to protect others.

      No one can protect someone from themself.

      In the financial realm, most people are illiterates.

  21. LaughingLion says:

    I can’t wait to see Realtors (TM) lose their jobs and houses and file for bankruptcy. They deserve misery and suffering.

    • Pants_Relief says:

      You doing OK bud?

      “They deserve misery and suffering.”

      You’re coming across as a little off-kilter, saying that a broad swath of people deserve misery and suffering based on their job.

      • South says:

        It’s not a real job. They are parasites. They do not create goods. And in my city they live in mansions and driving panameras..

        • SkiGuy says:

          So people who have jobs that don’t create goods are ‘parasites?’ Realtors match buyers and sellers. It’s essentially a service industry, and service industries encompass a massive part of the economy.

          Get that massive chip off your shoulder, it must be painful to walk straight carrying that around.

          Disclosure: I’m a broker, and generally dislike Realtors overall.

  22. Xavier Caveat says:

    The AirBnBust will put an awful lot of homes on the market, and they’re pre-staged and ready to be listed tomorrow if not sooner, and no need to worry your pretty little head about your kids missing their friends in school, or relationships in town, because there aren’t any.

    • Blam35 says:

      People love air bnb, save for massive recession affecting upper.middle. class I don’t see demand slowing, unless you have some stats.

      • Janna says:

        I will be surprised if Airbnb doesn’t slow dramatically. They are so overpriced. They were important during covid to vacation without being around other people. But, I just stayed a week in a brand new Marriott for free using my points. Our extended family stayed for about $120/night. And, when we left, we didn’t have to sweep or mop or mow the lawn:-)

      • Xavier Caveat says:

        Most would be Hilton moguls have very little invested in their ‘hotels’ and a combination of less people using AirBnB, and the value of the homes going down will be rather ruthless in bringing a lot more homes on the market.

        This didn’t exist in the last housing bubble, but it’ll act as an accelerator in bringing the prices down.

  23. QQQBall says:

    In the markets we track, inventory is increasing but still very low, prices are sticky and anything “priced right” is gone in a blink. In one secondary market, the prices near $300k should be near $225k IMO to provide a margin of safety. I had this discussion with a local Realtor and she was all a flutter with “planned changes and development” to the area. I told her at my age, I wanted to buy the steak, not the sizzle and I have seen values in that area in a down market. When the blue zone sellers can no longer sell their $1.5MM condos in Boston, NYC, Chicago, etc., and relocate and pay $400k cash, then things might slow down. It is NOT the locals driving the pricing other than lower price points and inventory at the low-end is sparse. Seeing price reductions at high price points.

  24. Michael Engel says:

    It’s Apr first fool’s day, the best selling season is ahead of us, but we are in the middle of a banking crisis. Enough is enough.
    Wall street might take the Dow to a new all time high, after accumulating at wholesale prices, to encourage home buyers.

  25. Jeffrey says:

    So tired of people trying to convince others that the market is fine to either make more money off of them or support their own insecurities. I’m no market genius but my grandfather who lived through the 1929 said if the market appears too good to be true, it is. Pulled my investments nov 2021 and glad I did, would be 18% further down right now instead of 20% up. Not smart enough to know what to do with it right now, but real estate is definitely not on my list… yet.

  26. Nimesh Patel says:

    This forum is full of doom and gloom.

    Our housing market will not crash. Perhaps a slight correction. But not a crash of 30% to 70%.

    The government would not allow it.

    • Steponbugs says:

      The government won’t allow it?
      Only by cranking up the digital printing presses. They’re already underwater by $31T/yr, with $170T in unfounded liabilities…the Fed is losing money (WTF? They’re responsible for monetary policy…)
      and the FDIC has $31B in the insurance fund to cover $12.8T in deposits…those numbers do not reassure me.

  27. Citizen AllenM says:

    Don’t make me laugh, Nimesh.

    The government did nothing last time. NOTHING

    Until the blood was in the streets and effing Wall Street had to be saved.

    So thinking like you do is downright comical.

    Someday this war’s gonna end…

    • Seriously says:

      “ The government did nothing last time”

      Last time? 08?
      NINJA loans? Stated income? 4M of active listings? ARM loans?

      Do we really need to go over this why this time is different? Like black and white different?

  28. Mendocino Coast says:

    Like it or not we are left holding the Bag / Most everyone has figured it out exactly how the Overall Economy got so screwed up / The money trail tells it all > the Proof is in the Pudding <
    Yes Proof :
    " Everyone knows the* Follow the Money * adage excluding those in denial and that confirms the Current Trend not just here in the USA .
    Recovery ? that word may become Recurrence the trend shows .
    Recurrence :
    That's exactly whats happening so bad its Boring ugly as it is
    So is capitalism really your cuppa Tee , almost any escape is welcome .
    " Uptick in Pending Home Sales: " requires a truth test thanks Wolf
    The Cave Dwellers May have had something on modern Man

  29. Peachy says:

    Anecdotal I know, but just talked to a realtor today who just closed on a sale of a house with a cash offer. There were 9 people bidding for the property. I live in a normal suburb near Sacramento CA.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Jeeesus. Is that the kind of crap you take seriously enough to have to spread here? If that Realtor actually exists…

      Median price -5% yoy; -11% from peak

      Sales yoy: -34%

  30. SocalJimObjects says:

    Lawrence Yun for the win!!!!

  31. Gilbert says:

    I check ‘for sale’ housing in markets I am familiar with and notice increased inventory with peak asking prices. Hopium is a fitting word. Every generation must be reminded that they are not as smart as they think.

  32. random guy 62 says:

    I chuckled when my google news feed fed me three headlines from MSM with celebrating the bounce in home sales… BUT the fourth article alongside them was this one at Wolf Street calling BS on the other three. Almost refreshing to see some balance there.

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