Where to Focus Your Energy as Home Sales Keep Sliding

Remember that the market isn’t as bad as it may seem, and you can build your skills during a housing downturn.

As home sales continue to slide, remember that the market isn’t as bad as it may seem and you can guide your customers through a downturn. With existing-home sales down 5.9% month over month in October—and a whopping 28.4% from a year earlier—according to the National Association of REALTORS®, real estate pros are facing a slow winter season. But there’s personal and professional development you can focus on during the housing pullback to keep yourself sharp and ready to hit the ground running when sales turn around. Consider:

But keep an eye on the volatility in the housing market while filling your time with business-building tasks. Be ready to pivot when a turnaround in home sales happens. Higher mortgage rates are preventing more potential home buyers from obtaining a mortgage, a problem that’s having a greater impact in expensive markets, says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Still, limited inventory is pushing home prices up. With 1.22 million housing units on the market at the end of October—down 0.8% from both September and a year ago, according to NAR—bidding wars are still occurring despite a slowdown. Unsold inventory sits at a 3.3-month supply at the current sales pace. “In October, 24% of homes received over the asking price,” Yun says. “Conversely, homes sitting on the market for more than 120 days saw prices reduced by an average of 15.8%.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $379,100, an annual gain of 6.6% as prices rose in all regions, according to NAR. Here are other important housing indicators from NAR’s October existing-home sales report:

  • Properties typically remained on the market for 21 days. Sixty-four percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.
  • First-time buyers were responsible for 28% of sales, down slightly from 29% a year ago. NAR’s 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, released earlier this month, found that the annual share of first-time buyers is at an all-time low of 26%.
  • All-cash sales accounted for 26% of transactions, up from 24% a year earlier.
  • Individual investors and second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 16% of homes, down from 17% a year earlier.
  • Distressed sales, such as foreclosures and short sales, represented 1% of sales, unchanged from a year earlier.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine