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In Which States Did Properties Sell Quickly in September 2018?

In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, respondents reported that properties were typically on the market for 32 days (34 days on year ago), according to the  September 2018 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.[1]  However, the difference in median days in the current month compared to the same month last year has started to narrow as homebuying demand has eased and the inventory of homes for sale has slightly increased. In January and February of this year, properties were selling about one week less compared to the length of time in the same period one year ago.

During the July–September 2018, properties typically sold within one month in 27 states (32 states in August 2018).  Properties sold most quickly in South Dakota (20 days), Idaho (21), Washington (21 days), Rhode Island (21 days), Indianapolis (22 days), Kansas (23), Massachusetts (23), Ohio (23), Utah (23), Colorado (24), Nevada (24), Nebraska (24), Maine (24), and Michigan (24).  

That properties are still selling faster compared to one year ago is an indication that the supply of homes for sale is still inadequate compared to the demand for homes. Based on the REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index[2], home selling conditions were “weak” during July, August, and September 2018 compared to one year ago in the District of Columbia and in 28 states including California, Oregon, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida.


[1] In generating the median days on market at the state level, NAR uses data for the last three surveys to have close to 30 observations. Small states such as AK, ND, SD, MT, VT, WY, WV, DE, and D.C., may have fewer than 30 observations.

[2] An index greater than 50 means that more respondents reported conditions relative to one year ago as “strong” than those that reported “weak.” Due to sampling, we categorize the index as “very weak” for 0 to 25; “weak” for values 25+ to 45; “stable” for values 45+ to 55; “strong” for values 55+ to 75; and “very strong” for values 75+.

September 2018 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month but down from a year ago. Mortgage rates rose to 4.77 percent this September, up 14.9 percent compared to 4.15 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in September moving the index down 8.4 percent from 160.1 to 146.7. The median sales price for a single family home sold in September in the US was $260,500 up 4.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 62 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points).

  • The payment as a percentage of income was down to 17 percent this September but up from 15.6 percent from a year ago. Regionally, the West has the highest payment at 23.7 percent of income. The South had the second highest payment at 16.5 percent followed by the Northeast at 16.4 percent. The Midwest had the lowest payment as a percentage of income at 13.5 percent.

  • Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in home prices at 7.0 percent. The Northeast had an increase of 5.3 percent while the South had a gain of 4.2 percent. The Midwest had the smallest growth in price of 2.2 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Northeast had the biggest drop in affordability of 9.0 percent. The South had a decline of 7.3 percent followed by the West that fell 6.8 percent. The Midwest had the smallest drop of 5.8 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in all of the four regions. The Northeast had biggest gain of 5.5 percent. The Midwest had an incline of 4.2 percent followed by the South with an increase of 2.3 percent. The West had the smallest gain in affordability of 1.9 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 185.3. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 105.4. For comparison, the index was 151.4 in the South, and 152.3 in the Northeast.

  • Mortgage applications are currently down. Mortgage rates are rising and home price growth is starting to slow down. Despite higher mortgage rates, lower home prices and increases inventory levels will help renters and potential home buyers enter the housing market. Home prices are up 4.6 percent outpacing median family incomes that are growing 3.1 percent.
  • What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release here.
  • The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principal and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.

Third Quarter Single Family Metro Market Prices

The National Association of REALTORS® reported that quarterly home prices increased again this past quarter. Prices continued to rise, with 93% of the markets showing home price appreciation. While, single-family home price growth is slowing and median family incomes are rising, affordability has been declining. Knowing the mortgage rates and the qualifying incomes for down payments will help potential homeowners figure out what metro areas are affordable for them. Here is a look at the metro areas with the strongest price growth in the third quarter 2018, as well as a look at the yearly change in median existing single-family home prices for the top five highest and lowest growth metro areas of the third quarter 2018.

These are the top five single-family metro areas with the highest home price appreciation:

These are the bottom five single-family metro areas that had a decline in home price appreciation:

These are the most expensive metro areas for the third quarter 2018:

These are the least expensive metro areas for the third quarter 2018:

Qualifying Income Based on Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes for Metropolitan Areas by Region:

For the US, at the 5 percent down-payment threshold, the qualifying income amount for the third quarter of 2018 was $64,480. At the 10 percent down-payment mark, the qualifying income was $61,086, and with a 20 percent down-payment, the income required to qualify for a mortgage was $54,299. The West led all regions with the highest qualifying income while the Midwest had the lowest income for 5%, 10% and 20% down payments on a single-family home.

REALTORS® Expect Home Prices to Rise 2% Over the Next 12 Months

In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, respondents are asked “In the neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make the most sales, what are your expectations for residential property prices over the next year?

Among approximately 3,000 REALTORS® who answered this question in the September 2018 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, the median expected price change in the next 12 months nationally is about two percent, a slower price appreciation compared to the 4.0 percent average during the January through May 2018 surveys (2.1 percent in August 2018 and 2.7 percent in September 2017).

The chart below shows the median expected price change across the U.S. states based on the responses of REALTORS® in the July, August, and September 2018 surveys.[1] Idaho is expected to have the strongest price growth at four to five percent.  Home prices are expected to appreciate by a modest two to three percent in states such as Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. In 21 states that includes California, Oregon, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey, REALTORS® expect flat to two percent price growth over the next 12 months.


Home prices continue to appreciate in many areas, although at a more subdued pace. Nationally, the median price of existing homes sold rose for the 79th consecutive month in September 2018 (since March 2012) to $260,500, a 4.6 percent year-over-year appreciation. Conditions vary across metro areas, but the general trend is one of a slowdown. In September 2018, 412 out of 500 metro areas tracked by Realtor.com had year-over-year increases in the median listing price, fewer than the 430 metros who posted year-over-year gains in September 2017.

Based on Realtor.com median listing home price data, prices are still appreciating strongly in metro areas that are geographically near markets that have had strong price growth. Around Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue (13.4%), the median listing prices rose year-over-year at double-digit pace in Centralia, WA (18.8%), Yakima, WA (15.4%), Olympia-Tumwater (16.4%), Aberdeen, WA (14.8%). Prices are also appreciating at double-digit rates in Boise City, ID (20.2%) and in Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV (17.8%) and adjacent Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ (15.6%).  The median list price also rose at double -digit rates in Northeast region metro areas such as New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (10.9%) and Hudson, NY (15.9%).

The median listing home prices on Realtor.com were still up modestly on a year-over-year basis as of September 2018 in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Sta. Clara, CA (4.5%) and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (3.6%), but prices have been on a downtrend since May 2018. In San Jose-Sunnyvale-Sta. Clara, CA, the median list price has fallen from $1.28 million in May 2018 to $1.14 million in September 2018.  In San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, the median list price has climbed down from $997,050 in May 2018 to $899,050 in September 2018.

The median home list price on Realtor.com were down year-over-year basis in metro areas such as Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO (-9.5%), Colorado Springs, CO (-3.4%), Austin-Round-Rock, TX (-3.4%); and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (-0.7%).

Home prices rose at a subdued pace in Northeast metros such as Boston, MA (3.7%), Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT (0.9%), Hartford-East Hartford-West Harford, CT (1.2%), New Haven-Milford, CT (1.9%). However, there are pockets of strong growth such as Worcester, MA (8.7%).

Use the data visualization tool to explore how median listing prices are trending across metro areas:


[1] In generating the indices, NAR uses data for the last three surveys to have close to 30 observations. Small states such as AK, ND, SD, MT, VT, WY, WV, DE, and D.C., may have fewer than 30 observations.

Halloween 2018: The Uncommon Previous Careers of REALTORS®

Only five percent of REALTORS® stated that real estate was their first career in the 2018 Member Profile. Most commonly, members held previous full-time careers in management/business/financial sector (16 percent), and sales/retail (16 percent). Respondents are able to select from a list of options that best represents their previous career. For 19 percent of REALTORS®, they felt that their previous career fell into the “other” category. By taking a deeper look into this category, we can determine some of the unique and noteworthy previous careers of our members.

  • Respondents of the “other” category are able to describe their previous career. The top previous careers included:
    • business owner/entrepreneur
    • finance/banking/accounting
    • restaurant industry
    • sales
    • insurance
    • marketing
    • entertainment
    • airline/aviation industry
    • real estate related
    • human resources
  • Some of the more unique previous careers included:
    • actor/actress
    • choreographer
    • equine therapist
    • fashion designer
    • firefighter
    • mayor
    • professional golfer
    • polygraph examiner
    • hospital chaplain
    • seismic processor
    • jet broker

Thanks to Research intern, Bronwen Leibe, for categorizing the responses from the “other” previous careers category.

               Scott & Marie Tomlinson
               Realty Executives Suncoast
               3090 Charles Ave.
               Clearwater, FL 33761
               Phone: 727-771-3609
               Email: tomlinsonteam1@gmail.com

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