Since inventory plummeted around the start of the pandemic, it’s been a seller’s market. The average number of days homes stay on the market has shrunk, steadily, in most major metro areas. (The national median is now 31.) However, Realor.com has compiled a list of the 10 markets where homes are lingering the longest — giving buyers a rare edge.
The slowest markets in the U.S. + their median number of days on the market
1. Houma, La. (58.5 days)
2. Utica, N.Y. (55 days)
3. Iowa City, Iowa (51.5)
4. Charleston, S.C. (50 days)
5. Salisbury, Md. (49.5 days)
6. La Cruces, N.M. (46 days)
7. Appleton, Wis. (45.5 days)
8. Blacksburg, Va. (44 days)
9. Lexington, Ky. (44 days)
10. Gulfport, Miss. (44 days)
Houma, which tops the list, presents an interesting confluence of factors. The area was hit by Hurricane Ida last August, leaving many homes destroyed. Now, those who remained are trying to get out of the flood zone. In April 2021, the average Houma home stayed on the market for a whopping 79 days.
Still, the market there is showing signs of strengthening, largely due to skyrocketing rents. The families of students at the nearby Nicholls State University are opting to buy, rather than rent, homes for their children, says Lisa Thibodaux of Latter & Blum Canal & Main Realty.
In the report, Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, commented on the reasons why the market may seem slow for some sellers. “This is the first relatively normal year since the start of the pandemic,” she said. “I think a lot of people were afraid they were going to miss the heart of the selling season last year and just decided to postpone their home sales.” When the market becomes oversaturated with sellers, demand can lag.
Hale also noted that the number of homes for sale has increased, year over year, for 10 out of the past 11 weeks. That means buyers who are wary of bidding wars can finally find more options.
And this cycle is natural. “When a housing market has homes selling extraordinarily quickly, market forces tend to bring it back into balance, either through more supply from existing-home owners selling or builders building, or through reduced demand, homeowners shifting to other, less competitive markets,” Hale explained.