Buying a home has turned into a game of Jeopardy!: If you don't act with lightning speed, you lose.
U.S. homes that sold in April – meaning final contracts were signed – were listed an average of just 64 days earlier, the fastest turnaround since the housing crash and recession from 2007 to 2009, according to real estate research firm Trulia. That's down from the previous low of 71 days last July and 77 days in April 2017.
In April 2010, houses languished for 137 days before sales were completed.
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"Things are moving quickly," says Trulia housing economist Felipe Chacon. "You need to have your ducks in a row."
A strong job market that's fueling demand and near-record low supplies of homes for sale is forcing house hunters to make offers quickly – sometimes sight unseen. There was a four-month supply of homes on the market in April – the time it would take to exhaust the existing housing stock if no other units were added -- compared to a normal six-month inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors
Keep in mind that homes were actually on the market for a much shorter average of 26 days in April, which is also a post-recession low. That's the time it took for a house to be listed and an offer to be made and accepted. Then comes the inspection, appraisal and loan approval process, which sometimes results in renegotiated offers and canceled sales. Trulia analyzed time-to-closing data to provide a more accurate reading of how long it takes to sell a home.