Driven by low inventory, median U.S. home price reaches record high in July

The national average median home price reached a new high in July due to low inventory and pent-up demand.

According to realtor.com‘s Housing Recovery Index, the new median price is $349,000, with listing price growth increasing $27,000 or 8.5% year over year.

“The coronavirus has impacted every corner of the U.S., but it hasn’t hit every area equally or at the same time,” said realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “The U.S. housing market performance is closely mirroring COVID’s path, which is providing clues into what we can expect for various housing markets in the months to come.

“After being particularly hard hit in March and April, new coronavirus cases remain stable in the Northeast and we’re seeing buyers return to the market in force,” Hale said. “If this same trend follows in the South and Midwest – where outbreaks continue to rise, we could see a flurry of activity well into the fall, especially as schools delay their openings.”

Out of the 50 largest metros, 48 had year-over-year median listing price gains in July, up from 46 metros in June.

The two metros that actually saw declines in median listing prices were Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida, at -1.5%, and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida, -0.9%. Notably, Florida has been severely impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

The number of new listings was down 13.4% year over year in July, but that represents a significant recovery from the 44.1% drop in April. Only the Northeast saw a slight decline in listings at a drop of just 1.2%, while new listings were down 10% in the West, 16.1% in the South and 20.8% in the Midwest.

Nationwide, inventory sank 34.8% year over year in July, worsening from June’s decline at 26.5%. None of the metros realtor.com tracks had an increase in inventory. The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California metro saw the largest drop in inventory at -50.4% over last year, while Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (-48.7 percent); and Providence-Warwick, R.I.-Mass. (-47.4 percent) weren’t far behind.

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