Tech hubs continue to lead housing market recovery

by Candyd Mendoza23 Jun 2020

Four additional housing markets armed with the tools needed to survive a recession have bounced back from the coronavirus crisis faster than the rest of the country.

"As the market heads into the summer, growth in online home searches and asking prices has surpassed pre-COVID levels, but movement in supply and time on market remains well below seasonal pace," said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com.

Nationally, realtor.com's housing market recovery index edged up 1.2 points week over week to 90 – now only 10 points below the January recovery benchmark. The uptick represents a 6.9-point increase over the 83.1 trough during the week ending May 2.

According to Vivas, local markets with a stable tech job creation have the upper hand in real estate activity.

"Locally, the story is much more nuanced. Markets with stronger job creation pre-COVID are proving to have the crucial edge for real estate activity, particularly those with a strong technology sector," he said. "As more tech companies weather the storm, the stable jobs and incomes they offer will continue to power demand for homes in these areas, enabling home sales to bounce back faster than the rest of the country this summer."

On a local level, four new markets, including Seattle, Rochester, N.Y., Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, have crossed the recovery baseline – bringing the total number of markets above the January benchmark to eight. Denver (107.6), Boston (106.7), San Francisco (104.5), and San Diego (104.5) – the first tech hubs to recuperate – even eclipsed their January pace and are now leading the recovery.

Other listing metrics include:

  • Median listing prices are now growing at 4.6% rate year over year, just above the pace seen before the pandemic.
  • New listings were down 20%. More sellers are coming back to the market compared to the early coronavirus period, but fewer than a week ago, and the number of new listings remains below last year's levels. New listings typically peak from mid-June to mid-July.
  • Time on market was 16 days slower than last year as it takes longer to find a buyer and complete a sale in the current market conditions. Time on market could speed up if buyers continue to outnumber sellers, according to realtor.com.
  • Total inventory was down 27%. Signs are pointing to increasing home-buyer interest, and sharper declines in inventory are imminent unless more sellers list homes for sale.