Severe winter weather dampens home sales, keeping prices high, Redfin says

A “For Sale” sign stands outside a home following a snow fall in Geneseo, Illinois, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. The National Association Of Realtors is scheduled to release Existing Homes Sales figures on January 22. Photographer:

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Severe winter weather is hindering home sales across the country, according to a Thursday report from real estate company Redfin.

The median U.S. home-sale price has been steadily increasing, rising around 5% in the first four weeks of January, alongside asking prices, Redfin reported. While low inventory – down 4% year over year – and increased purchasing power have contributed to the high price tags, Redfin said winter weather has also factored into sluggish sales.

Pending home sales are down more than 8% year over year, which Redfin reported as the biggest decline in four months. With potential homebuyers in areas facing severe winter weather staying home, that number has continued to climb.

The winter season has been plagued by an arctic freeze, dangerous snow and ice storms across the country and even heavy rain across drought-stricken California. The Midwest experienced near-record lows holding steady at subzero temperatures.

“Real estate is usually slow in the Midwest in the winter, but this year it’s even slower than usual because the weather has been so extreme,” Redfin agent Christine Kooiker from Michigan said in a release. “Casual house hunters are staying home to avoid the roads — but inventory is low enough that serious buyers are finding a way to see desirable homes. I also believe we’ll get busier as we approach spring.”

Real estate agents from warmer climates reported more active buyers and sellers, even with the mortgage rates stable in the high 6% range, Redfin added.

For the first month of 2024, the median home sale price was around $360,000, according to Redfin. Metros with the biggest year-over-year price increases included Anaheim, California, which saw a 13.6% jump; New Brunswick, New Jersey, at 13.5%; and Miami, Florida, at 13.3%.

Home sales in December slumped to close out the worst year since 1995, according to the National Association of Realtors.