A Holiday Pause
The week of Thanksgiving ushers in the Holiday Market, the slowest time of the year for housing that continues through the first couple of weeks of the New Year.
Southern California does not get pummeled by snow during the holidays like the rest of the country. There are no blizzards, school days are not cancelled due to snow, freezing temperatures are rare, and roads are drivable year-round not taking into account construction cones and the grind of holiday traffic. Regardless of the weather, housing slows with all the distractions of the yuletide season. The holidays are here and with it come holiday parties, plenty of shopping, family gatherings, eggnog, spirits, and nonstop festive music. With COVID being much less of a distraction and a deterrent to enjoying the essence of the season, sellers and buyers are going to be even more inclined to place their real estate needs on pause.
The Holiday Market is when the inventory plunges, demand plunges, and the Expected Market Time increases slightly. Regardless of the economic situation, without fail the cyclical slowdown prevails. Last year the number of available homes was already at historically low levels all year. After peaking in July, a record low peak, it was hard to imagine the inventory could plunge at the end of the year. Yet, from mid-November to the start of the New Year, it sank by 39%. Demand, a snapshot of the number of new escrows over the prior month, dropped by 44%, and the Expected Market Time, the time between coming on the market and opening escrow, increased by a meager two days. Similarly, the 3-year average inventory holiday drop prior to COVID (2017 to 2019), when housing was a bit more normal, was a 20% decline. Demand dove by 44% and the Expected Market Time increased by an additional 19 days.
Excerpt taken from an article by Steven Thomas.