Consumer Trends

Peak Home Buying Season Shifts from May to August This Year

What does the real estate market say about the economy’s overall health?

New market research from shows growth in pace of sales, demand and prices over 2019. For more details, visit here.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Home buying season’s usual May peak has shifted to August as buyers and sellers rebound from spring’s COVID disruption, according to®‘s Weekly Recovery Report. This week’s data shows growth in pace of sales, demand and prices have surpassed last year levels, while inventory continues to lag seasonal normals.


The Housing Market Recovery Index reached 103.8 nationwide for the week ending Aug. 1, posting a 0.1 point increase over last week and bringing the index 3.8 points above the pre-COVID baseline.

“Real estate activity in the U.S. has regained its strength and continues on an upward trajectory as we enter the middle of the summer,” said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for®. “However, a sustained seller comeback still hinges on back-to-school plans and extended lockdowns. The housing market will need to remain above pre-COVID levels for at least another 10 weeks to make up for the lost activity in the second quarter of the year. As we head into fall, an anticipated resurgence in COVID cases and economic aftershocks are likely to create an uphill battle for home buyers and sellers.”

Key Findings:

  • Time on market is now 4 days faster than last year. As a result of still too few homes for sale and mortgage rates at or near-record lows, homes are selling even faster than a year ago nationwide and in many metros, a plus for sellers looking to move quickly.
  • Median listing prices grew at 9.4 percent over last year, continuing to pick up speed. The strength of prices against an uncertain economic landscape that includes a double-digit unemployment rate is perhaps the most surprising aspect of how the housing market has fared — a dramatic departure from the last time unemployment was in double-digit territory. However, looking at the sheer number of buyers, low mortgage rates, and limited sellers, the strength of home prices — which are now growing at the highest pace since January 2018 — makes sense.
  • New listings were down 11 percent. The gradual improvement in the trend of new sellers listing homes took a pause this week despite continued price gains. Selling a home now may involve some extra precautions, but it is very possible. Continued recovery in new listings is needed before we can see sales fully recover.
  • Total inventory was down 35 percent. With buyer interest high and the number of new sellers still lagging, the total number of homes for sale continues to dwindle. These conditions set the stage for further price gains ahead, a trend which could eventually cause buyer demand to cool.
  • Local Recovery: Regionally, the West (110.5) continues to lead the pack in the recovery, with the overall index now visibly above the pre-COVID benchmark. The Northeast (108.2) remains above recovery pace and continues to improve, while the South (99.5) and Midwest (98.8) continue to lag. Locally, a total of 29 markets have crossed the recovery benchmark, with the overall recovery index showing greatest recovery in New York, Las Vegas, Seattle, Boston and Philadelphia.

Listings Data Summary

Week ending

Aug 1

Week ending

July 25

Week ending

July 18

First Two Weeks


Total Listings

-35% YOY

-34% YOY

-33% YOY

-16% YOY

Time on Market

4 days faster YOY

4 days faster YOY

1 day faster YOY

4 days faster YOY

Median Listing Prices

+9.4% YOY

+9.1% YOY

+9.1% YOY

+4.5% YOY

New Listings

-11% YOY

-11% YOY

-15% YOY

+5% YOY


Top 10 Metros Recovery Index



Recovery Index

(Week Ending 7/25)

Recovery Index

(Weekly Change)


New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.




Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev.




Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.




Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H.




Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md.




Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.




Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.




San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.




San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.




San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.




The Weekly Housing Index leverages a weighted average of® search traffic, median list prices, new listings, and median time on market and compares it to the January 2020 market trend, as a baseline for pre-COVID market growth. The overall index is set to 100 in this baseline period. The higher a market’s index value, the higher its recovery and vice versa.




About®® makes buying, selling and living in homes easier and more rewarding for everyone.® pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today through its website and mobile apps is a trusted source for the information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Using proprietary data science and machine learning technology,® pairs buyers and sellers with local agents in their market, helping take the guesswork out of buying and selling a home. For professionals,® is a trusted provider of consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today’s on-demand world.® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit®.