A map of the U.S. with Chico, CA; Erie, PA; and Charleston, WV highlighted.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

Market Moods: Stale listings in the West, speedy sales in the East 

A new report identified areas with the biggest increases and decreases in days on market. Agents in Erie, Charleston and Chico share their insights.

April 14, 2023
4 minutes

Key points:

  • A Realtor.com report found that days on market decreased in just 5 of the top 250 metros year over year.
  • In Erie, homes are selling faster, but inventory is at an "all-time low," according to a local agent.
  • Lack of inventory is also a theme in Charleston, where days on market are unchanged, and in Chico, where they have more than doubled.

Despite inventory shortages around the country, homes in nearly all regions are sitting on the market longer.

The reasons should be familiar to any agent: Buyers are wary of high interest rates, or sellers have overpriced their homes for the market.

But in a few places, homes are selling faster than this time last year. A recent report from Realtor.com looked at days on market in the top 250 metros and identified areas with the biggest swings — and no swings.

Sales are speeding up in northwestern Pennsylvania

At one end of the spectrum is Erie, Pennsylvania, where homes are selling two weeks faster than they did a year ago. Realtor.com put median days on market in Erie at 58, down from 72 in March 2022.

Toni Smith, an agent with the RE/MAX Real Estate Group in Erie, attributes that trend not only to Erie being a "great area," but to more people with strong ties there moving back to be closer to family.

At the same time, she said, inventory is at an "all-time low," an issue she has been dealing with for several years — most especially over the last two years, when she saw fewer listings, but no decrease in buyers.

"One reason it's so crazy this year — and even at the conclusion of the busy season last year — is that we were getting multiple contracts on almost every house," Smith said.

"Last year's prospective buyers were not all successfully purchasing homes due to the competition. They are back this year, along with all of the new buyers that are ready to purchase a home," she said. "Once again, we have more buyers than property to sell." 

Nothing's changed in Charleston, but inventory remains tight

Meanwhile, in Charleston, West Virginia, it's business as usual: The number of days on market hasn't budged in over a year.

Traci Thomas Wells, a broker/owner with RE/MAX Clarity WV and RE/MAX Clarity First of Ohio, said the average home sits on the market for 84 days. The Realtor.com report put the median figure at 65 days.

But even as some listings grow stale, "We are still at an all-time low on active inventory," Thomas Wells said, "and the homes that hit the market in good shape are still selling almost immediately."

"Our biggest issue is the lack of inventory to promote and sell," she said. "If there are homes on the market over the 90-day mark, they are either overpriced or need a major repair such as a structural stabilization."

Buyers are still willing to pay a premium, she said, but they do expect a move-in ready home in that case. "Gone are the days of listing a mediocre home and expecting multiple offers."

Thomas Wells has worked with her agents to employ a "back to basics" approach to increase their listings: Stay in touch with past clients, leverage social media platforms and online advertising, and use virtual tours to reach a larger audience. She is also offering services to sellers to better stage and prepare their homes for listing, and getting out in the community to network.

"As long as we continue with the low inventory, our demand will stay strong," she said. "And as rates start to drop a little, and the shock of the rate hike has simmered, I believe we will still see our market stay strong, as well."

In north-central California, days on market have more than doubled

Across the country in Chico, California, some sales have stalled. The Realtor.com report found that homes in Chico are sitting on the market for more than twice as long as they did last year — median days on market is currently 78 days, up from 35 days.

But Alisha Simpkins of Keller Williams Realty in Chico isn't alarmed.

"It's probably like any area," she said. "But we are taking a little more time." If it's a good property with a fair price, she said, "it goes pending right away."

Inventory is low in Chico, so prices are high, which may be why some houses are sitting on the market. In those cases, she said, "you have to adjust your price accordingly."

But she has the same amount of pending listings as active ones. "It's a normal market again," she said.

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