National Housing Market Outlook

Poor Quality Dents Sales Despite Rising Resale Listings

Dillan Krieg photo
Jody Kahn

Dillan Krieg

Jody Kahn

May 3, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • Resale listings have risen from historic lows in many top markets.

  • However, the poor condition of many current and coming resale listings is squashing the expected sales growth. Buyers want homes that are move-in ready.

Rising resale listings were a central topic of our April 2024 client webinar.

The number of resale homes for sale has increased year over year (YOY) in many large US housing markets. In Orlando, Tampa, and Miami, listings have jumped +50% or more from one year ago. Resale inventory has increased to pre-Covid levels in most Texas and Florida housing markets but remains constrained in the California, Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast regions.

Factors contributing to rising inventory in some markets include: 

  • More homeowners are willing to accept higher mortgage rates and sell their homes, moving away from the low rates they currently have.
  • A history of relatively high investor purchases may be reversing as some investors sell their properties to take advantage of high market prices.
  • A new home construction boom has expanded supply enough to support shifts like moving to a larger home or downsizing. 

Quality issues are slowing down resale transactions. 

While the number of resale homes on the market has improved in some metros, potential buyers are not making offers on many of these homes due to their poor condition. We surveyed ~1,400 resale agents nationally in April, and 99% said they have recently seen resale home listings that need repairs or updating.

Nationally, an average of 37% of current and expected listings require repairs and updates, and 27% of surveyed agents indicate that most listings need improvements. Read how resale agents’ sentiments in our surveys signal future transaction volume

Many listed homes require significant improvements.

For months, resale agents have been telling us that buyers are seeking move-in-ready homes. Many buyers are stretching financially to purchase a home and lack the ability and desire to tackle remodeling after their closings. When agents identified the repairs and updates needed to make listed homes ready to live in, we were shocked by the scope.  

Two-thirds of real estate agents reported that homes needed repairs or updates in at least four different areas. Outdated kitchens and bathrooms and general interior maintenance are the top three needed improvements that agents identified. 

The poor quality of resale listings is a major obstacle for resale home sales; many buyers avoid homes needing repairs or updates, and sellers often refuse to make these improvements. These comments from resale agents illustrate the challenges: 

Sellers avoid making repairs for several reasons.

When asked why sellers aren’t making repairs and updates before listing, 47% of agents indicated that sellers cannot afford the cost. Another 32% of agents say that sellers are not making updates to let buyers choose the style and materials they prefer. The Other category reveals two big themes:

  • Some sellers believe they don’t need to make repairs or changes in a low inventory environment to get a high price for their home.
  • Estates or families listing homes on behalf of relatives often reduce the list price to sell without bearing the cost of deferred repairs. 

Our national Real Estate Agent Survey confirms that there are more buyers than sellers in most housing markets. Sellers who do not take their agents’ advice to make needed repairs or updates will likely see their homes stay on the market longer. They may also experience one or more price cuts. Completing these repairs could reduce the time needed to sell the house and raise the sales price, making it a worthwhile return on the investment. 

Are you a real estate agent interested in participating in our quick multiple-choice survey and receiving gift card rewards and industry-leading research in return? Please fill out this form.

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About The Author

Dillan Krieg photo
Dillan Krieg
Research Analyst II, Surveys
Dillan produces and analyzes our for-sale survey reports, including our Builder Survey, Real Estate Agent Survey, Land Survey, and Master-Planned Community Survey. He also covers the 6 major Northeastern markets for our monthly Metro Analysis and Forecast report and assists in our Short-Term Market Rating process.
Jody Kahn
Jody Kahn
Senior Vice President of Research Surveys
Jody delivers timely and accurate insights on housing market trends at the metro, regional, and national levels. She combines statistics and commentary from JBREC’s independent surveys with data trends, forecasts, proprietary indices, feedback from consultants, and decades of housing experience to give clients insights that support business decisions.

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