Review of September 2021 Real Estate Market Trends

The state of the American real estate market is an interesting one. The market has been shattering records since the COVID pandemic decline, with inventory incredibly low while buyer interest remains incredibly high. The summer months are typically some of the most frenzied for the real estate market as buyer activity is typically the highest in the warm weather. September marks the end of the summer season and potentially a change in market conditions.

For much of the past year, the market has been firmly a seller’s market—the lack of inventory has combined with high demand to send prices through the roof. Sellers would receive multiple bids immediately in many cities and across metropolitan areas in the nation, the general state of the market was that buyers would have to spend more to get homes that may have been in their budget before. This remained the case in September, although there is reason to believe things could be moving in a new direction.

In August of 2021, according to Fortune, home inventory increased 5.7% from July. The inventory of homes available in the U.S had been steadily rising since spring, and August marked another high point and an increase of 30% from the worst it had been in spring. September continued this trend. According to Mansion Global, the inventory of homes available in the United States hit a 2021 high in September.

But while inventory was higher than the other months of 2021, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the market conditions were any better for buyers than they had been previously. This inventory marks a slight course correction, but it’s going to take a lot more than that for home inventory to return to the conditions it was in before the pandemic.

The same report by Mansion Global showed that active listings were still down year over year from last September by 22%, and compared to September of 2019, in the pre-pandemic days, that number is 52.5%. Still, any improvement to inventory shouldn’t be overlooked, as it is a potential indicator that conditions could begin to normalize by the fall and winter.

This drop in inventory has driven prices incredibly high, and that trend continues in September. According to an intensive report by, prices for a home in America continued their rise. The median listing price for a home in the U.S in September was $380,000. This is an 8.6% increase from September 2020 and a whopping 20.6% increase from September 2019.

Another indicator that reflects the state of the market is how rapidly homes are being swept off it. The same report by showed that the typical home spent 43 days on the market in September, which was 11 days less than the same month in 2020 and 23 days less than in September of 2019. Essentially, there are still significantly fewer homes on the market, so they’re being sold for much more and much quicker because of it.

For the market to return to buyer’s best conditions , there needs to be significant growth in the amount of inventory on the market. According to Yahoo Finance, one change occurred at the end of September that could see the amount of inventory on the market shoot back up to more palatable levels: the end of the mortgage forbearance program.

The forbearance program is slowly winding down as of September 30th, and there will be an incremental impact on the market that could see inventory steadily rise. The program allowed some struggling borrowers to pause their payments.

This COVID measure had 1.7 million Americans enrolled in it, and unfortunately, not all of them will be able to afford the return of their mortgage payments. Many will sell their homes and downgrade or move to cheaper areas. This will significantly increase inventory. According to the same report by Yahoo, there are currently only 1.3 million homes on the market, so this will have a marked impact over the next few months.

September was a month that saw many of the trends that had long been occurring continue and even escalate. However, as the end of a typically frenzied summer real estate season is marked, significant changes could be on the horizon. With the slow but steady increase of inventory increase of 2021 combined with the end of the mortgage forbearance program, market conditions may be on the verge of shifting. After a long period of a seller’s market, buyers could potentially have their time.

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