National Data

High Mortgage Rates Are Fueling Strong Inventory Growth

By Mike Simonsen on April 15, 2024


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Mike Simonsen

Mike Simonsen is the founder and president of real estate analytics firm Altos Research, which has provided national and local real estate data to financial institutions, real estate professionals, and investors across the country for more than 15 years. An expert trendspotter, Mike uses Altos data to identify market shifts months before they hit the headlines.

Big jump in interest rates this week. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage according to the HousingWire mortgage rates center is now over 7.2%, that’s 50 basis points above where we were at the start of the year. At that time, most of the voices in the media assumed that mortgage rates had peaked and would fall by now. But the American economy continues to be strong, and with each new economic data release it seems less likely that we’ll see the Fed cut short-term interest rates any time soon. So now we’re in the peak home buying season, and mortgage rates are still in the 7s and maybe even heading higher.

How will homebuyers and sellers react, and how quickly can we measure it?

Every week Altos Research tracks every home for sale in the country. We analyze all the pricing, supply and demand, and all the changes in that data and we make it available to you before you see it in the traditional channels. If you aren’t using Altos market reports with your clients, your buyers and sellers, now might be the time to step up. Go to and book a free consult with our team. Because everyone is worried about what’s happening right now. They need you to help them see clearly. The data we cover here in these national videos is available for every zip code in the US. Join us to dive in.

I’m Mike Simonsen, I’m the founder of Altos Research. Let’s look at the data for the week of April 15, 2024. Please refer to the video below for all the charts I mention in this transcript!




There are now 526,000 single family homes active unsold on the market. That’s up 2.6% from a week ago when the data included the Easter holiday. It’s a holiday week jump so it’s not super crazy but a two and a half percent jump in unsold inventory in a week is very notable. This is absolutely a function of high and rising mortgage rates. I’ve been sharing this view for two full years now. As mortgage rates rise, inventory rises. Or, to put it another way: demand slows, inventory grows. So, rates are up and inventory is undeniably growing. 

Available inventory of unsold homes on the market is 30% greater than last year at this time and 102% more than in mid April 2022. There are 120,000 more homes on the market now than there were last year. There are 250,000 more homes on the market now than two years ago. And like I mentioned, much of this inventory increase is concentrated in a few key markets. At that time two years ago, rates were obviously rising for the first time in years and inventory was rising too. Inventory was coming off the record lows of the pandemic, but was already increasing 2-3% per week as demand slowed. 

In this chart of inventory, you can see the light red line from 2022. See how it curved up dramatically in the spring. We’re not on that same curve this year, but if mortgage rates haven’t peaked yet, we will get an acceleration of inventory building. 

Year over year inventory growth like this can lead to home price declines in the future. Since sales price measures lag way behind the changes in supply and demand. So because we have 30% year over year inventory gains now, we’ll be on the lookout for more signals of weakness in home prices as the year progresses.

It is important to note that we don’t see any signs in the data of a major home price crash. In early 2022 inventory rose quickly, and home prices fell in Q4 of that year. Home prices recovered in 2023 very quickly though. If we finally get some stability in mortgage rates, expect stability also in home prices. If we are in a world of more rising mortgage rates, supply and demand will continue to imbalance and we’d see price adjustments likely.


New Listings

Inventory growth is from a combination of fewer buyers as affordability worsens, but also gradually improving seller volume. There were 67,000 new listings unsold this week plus another 20,000 immediate sales for 87,000 total new listings. That’s 32% more new listings this week than the same week a year ago. The measure from last year included last year’s Easter holiday weekend so some of this 32% is from that easy comparison. But each week in 2024 is averaging 13% more sellers than last year at this time. 13% growth in sellers. So we have obvious seller growth as we settle into mortgage rates higher for longer.

This concept is counter intuitive. Many listeners are familiar with the concept of mortgage rate lock-in. I had an excellent podcast interview with Jonah Coste from FHFA last week discussing their paper on the lock-in effect. Make sure you give that one a listen.

The Lock-in premise is that if rates rise, it becomes more expensive for homeowners to move, so higher rates creates more lock-in and fewer sellers. But that’s proving to be only partially true as you can see here. The lock-in effect keeps us with relatively few sellers: 80,000 instead of 100,000 each week in previous healthy years, but we have more sellers every week than last year even though mortgage rates are higher now. 

In fact, there were more new listings this week at 67,000 than any week in 2023 and we have a couple months of spring still to climb. In the New Listings chart here you can see how this year’s dark line is already above last year’s peak, hopefully on its way up to 80,000 or so by June. I say hopefully, because more sellers implies more sales can happen. So seller growth implies sales growth for the market.

New Pendings

Meanwhile there were 69,000 new pendings this week. These are homes that were listed, took offers and started the contract process. Homes take just under 40 days on average to close the transaction. So these are sales that will close in May for the most part. 

69,000 contracts is 10% more than a year ago and 7% more than last week, which included the Easter holiday. So like the inventory numbers, this week’s big jump is mostly a rebound from the holiday. But it’s really encouraging that sales each week continue to come in ahead of last year. If rates finally fall, we’ll see this transaction rate accelerate, and we’ll see inventory fall too. But there doesn’t seem to be any inclination of rates falling. This weekly new pendings data is a very handy measure of interest rate sensitivity.  See the light red line from 2022 which took a huge hit in sales volume in September and October 2022. I’ve highlighted that period here. That was the moment that rates jumped from the 6s to 7.5%. Buyers hit the brakes and sales volume slowed way down. We could track it very quickly.

There are 371,000 single family homes in contract right now. That’s just 4% more than last year at this time. A lot of places in the country still have fewer sales than last year. The market is  trying to grow, but a new jump in mortgage rates doesn’t help. More sales are happening with cash right now, so the mortgage indices are still at record lows. If we get lucky and rates don’t keep climbing, then we’ll continue to see home sales run just a little ahead of last year. The more stable rates stay, the more sales can inch forward.


Home Prices

The median price of the homes that took offers this week was $389,900. That took a dip this week and is actually below 2022 by 1%. In 2022, home prices still had pandemic momentum into the second quarter. 

To track home prices, I have been sharing this price chart of the new pending prices in the weekly videos recently because it is the most sensitive to rate changes. I’ve highlighted June and September 2022 as the two moments when consumers reacted to rising mortgage rates that year and home prices dropped. The whole price adjustment happened in a couple weeks. 

The median price of all the homes in contract is $399,000, which means the homes that sell in April and May will be 5% higher priced than 2023. 

The median price of the active market is $447,527 this week. That’s up for the week and 1.7% above last year. The asking prices are leading indicators of where future sales prices will happen. And the growth in those leading indicators is not very strong. Just barely above last year at this time. 

The price of the newly listed cohort came in pretty strong in the week after Easter at $435,000, which was a new all time high for that measure. So not all of the pricing indicators are bearish. That’s good to keep our eyes on.


Price Reductions


On the other hand, 32.1% of the homes on the market have taken a price cut. That’s up a fraction from last week, 10 basis points. If this most recent move in mortgage rates is stifling home buyers, we’ll see the price reductions number jump in next Monday’s video. 


Homes that are on the market and expected offers this week, some of those folks didn’t get their offers because of the most recent mortgage rate jump. If they don’t get the offer, then on Monday or Tuesday, a few are going to reduce their asking price to try to stimulate demand. 


This chart is the clearest illustration of the state of homebuyer demand. There are more homes on the market now with price cuts than at any April in the last decade. Price cuts are climbing now, when last year they were declining in April. Last year that demand pointed to home price appreciation for the year and we ended with 5% home price growth. This year the signal is much weaker. 


Two takeaways from the price reductions data: One, next week we will be watching for how many listings cut their prices as a result of newly higher mortgage rates. We can see that moment in September of 2022 that I’ve been referring to today when price cuts jumped. We saw it again last September when rates jumped then. Will we see it again in next Monday’s data? 

And two, because price cuts are a bit high and climbing now, we have to look at that as a slightly bearish signal for home prices for the rest of the year. Transaction volume is climbing but prices do not appear to be climbing considering these levels of unaffordability.

That’s why we do this data work each week. This market is trying to grow, but homebuyers are obviously sensitive to the cost of money. If you aren’t watching the data each week, you’re probably behind the curve. You have buyers and sellers who have no idea how this market is changing right now. They need to hear the data from you. If you need to help buyers and sellers see the actual data, you should join us at Altos.

Go to and book time with our team to learn more.

You can also run a free Altos real estate market report for any zip code in the U.S. and receive an update on that area in your inbox every week.

And, if you want to learn how to read and interpret all the stats in the report, I encourage you to download our free eBook: "How to Use Market Data to Build Your Real Estate Business."

See you next week!

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