Redfin’s CEO reveals his biggest takeaways from the wild housing market, and says one home buyer was so desperate that she offered to name her first-born child after the seller

  • The housing market is going “bizarre,” says Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. 
  • Inventory is at a record low, while home prices are up a record 24% year over year. 
  • More than half of homebuyers are bidding on homes without ever seeing them in person. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The pandemic has done a lot of strange things to the global economy over the last 14 months, from creating a massive shortage of semiconductor chips to a ballooning supply of hand sanitizer

The US housing market has gone haywire too, as urbanites took advantage of remote work to leave expensive cities and resettle in smaller towns across the US. But it’s not all that simple. Glenn Kelman, the chief executive of real estate brokerage Redfin, broke down some of his observations of just how unusual the current US housing market is in a Tuesday Twitter thread

“It has been hard to convey, through anecdotes or data, how bizarre the US housing market has become,” Kelman said. “For example, a Bethesda, Maryland homebuyer working with @Redfin included in her written offer a pledge to name her first-born child after the seller. She lost.”

Read more: Betting on Florida real estate could be a big mistake

According to Kelman, the market continues to smash records in areas like pricing and housing stock. 

“Inventory is down 37% year over year to a record low. The typical home sells in 17 days, a record low. Home prices are up a record amount, 24% year over year, to a record high. And still homes sell on average for 1.7% higher than the asking price, another record,” Kelman said. 

In two of the nation’s largest cities, however, the amount of available apartments is way up. According to Kelman, in New York, inventory is up 28% and in San Francisco, it’s up 77%, the largest increase since 2008. Prices are still rising in both places. 

Redfin’s data also shows that people are, in large part, scooping up homes without ever setting foot in them. Of 2,000 homebuyers surveyed last year, 63% bid on a home sight unseen, Kelman said. In another survey, Redfin found that roughly two-thirds of buyers moved to a home the same size or bigger as their previous one. And the same amount ended up spending the same or less on housing.

The influx of new buyers has been especially strong in low-tax states, where four people move in for every one that leaves, Kelman said. In Florida, that ratio is 7:1. 

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