Drop in Time on Market to Sell a Home

In 2017, the time on market plummeted to an all-time low—at just three weeks—to sell a home. Last year, we had seen the time on market to sell a home reach a historical low at just four weeks. In the 30 years that NAR has collected the data for time on market since 1987, the time to sell a home reached four weeks only in 2001, 2004, and 2005 and again for three straight years from 2014 to 2016. 2017 marks the shortest period sellers were selling in three decades.

NAR’s annual flagship report Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers tracks the number of weeks a home is listed on the market. In 2001 to 2005 at the height of the housing boom, homes sold within a month of being listed due to hot demand in the market. The last four year period—2014 to 2017—time on market has been at an all-time low due to a lack of inventory for available homes.

From 2006 to 2008, the housing market began a downturn in parts of the country, affecting how quickly homes sold on the market. The median time on market jumped up to six weeks in 2006 and eight weeks by 2008. As more distressed homes were put on the market with fewer buyers, the median time on market was pushed up to 10 weeks in 2009. This was partly attributed to the U.S. government’s cash infusion issued to first-time home buyers in the form of a tax credit, spurring more buyers into the market and pushing up demand.

In the consecutive two years in 2010 and 2011, the median weeks on market dropped back down eight and nine weeks respectively as investors jumped in to snatch up cheaper properties, often competing with first-time home buyers. Time on market then hit a peak in 2012 at eleven weeks. This number falls drastically to five weeks the following year in 2013, indicating tight inventory, tight credit availability, and a lack of new construction of homes to keep up with demand. This recent market trends have further been exacerbated in 2017.