U.S. median home prices continued its double-digit appreciation in May reaching a new an all-time high of $380,000, but in a good sign for home shoppers contending with a competitive housing market, the rate of price growth moderated for the second time in 13 months, according to the Realtor.com Monthly Housing Trends Report released today. As for Metro Phoenix home prices, the median listing price hit $450,000, a 17.1% increase year over year.

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In what is looking more like a typical home-buying season, sellers continued to come to the market in May with new listings up 5.4% year-over-year. However, with less than half the total number of homes for sale compared to last year, homes are selling 32 days faster than a year ago and 18 days faster than 2017-2019. It is important to note that the housing market stalled during the early days of the pandemic last April and May, exaggerating many of the year-over-year comparisons. To provide perspective, 2017-2019 comparisons are provided when appropriate.

“Home buyers looking to lock in still low mortgage rates face fierce competition for fewer homes for sale than last year’s historic pandemic lows, pushing up the typical asking price in May to an all-time high for the fourth consecutive month,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “The good news is that price momentum may be beginning to cool off. While still in the double-digits, May was the first non-weather related slowing in price appreciation since April 2020. And with a normal, summer seasonal peak in home prices expected this year, we could see growth fall back to a more normal single-digit pace in the fall.”

Hale said Realtor.com®‘s May data indicates that large metros may be leading the national cool-down in price growth thanks to more new sellers. In May, the largest metros saw lower annual price gains than the national rate and some of the largest number of new homes added to the market.

Prices hit all-time high as growth pace slows

Nationally, the median list price grew to $380,000 in April, the latest all-time high seen according to Realtor.com® data, which dates back to 2012. Although the tenth consecutive month of double-digit price increases, the pace of growth slowed to 15.2% year-over-year in May, lower than the 17.2% year-over-year increase reported in April.

Active listing prices in the nation’s largest metros grew by an average of 7.4% in May compared to last year. Among the 50 largest U.S. metros, Austin, Texas (+32.2%), Riverside, Calif. (+21.5%), and Las Vegas (+18.5%) saw the largest increases.

Tight inventory even as sellers add new listings

Nationally, the total inventory of unsold homes (including pending listings) declined 20.8% from May 2020, while active listings were more than half of (-50.9%) last year’s levels. New listings grew 5.4% compared to last year. Although more sellers are entering the market, there were 522,000 fewer homes actively for sale in May compared to a year ago, when the market had stalled due to the pandemic. Compared to the typical rate seen in May from 2017 to 2019, sellers added 23.3% fewer newly listed homes last month.

The nation’s 50 largest metros gained 12.4% new listings compared to last year in May, over twice the average national rate. Many of the metros that saw the largest gains were cities that were impacted by the pandemic first such as Buffalo, N.Y., up 64.3%, Philadelphia (+52.5%) and Washington, D.C.(+48.9%).

Homes sold more than a month faster than last year

With less than half the amount of homes for sale than this time last year, prospective homeowners are feeling the pressure to move quickly with average time on market reaching a new low in May at 39 days. This is 32 days faster than last year. Homes sold 19 days faster on  average in May, compared to 2017 to 2019. May home sales were fastest in Rochester, N.Y., which saw a median 11 days on market, and Columbus, Ohio (13 days) and Denver (14 days).