The City Where People Cannot Sell Their Houses

For the past two years, improvement in the housing market seemed like it would never end. Prices rose. Inventory fell. People sold homes for over the asking price. Many homes were sold after bidding wars.

The housing market was fueled by low interest rates and rising mobility among Americans. Rates fell below 3% for 30-year-fixed mortgages, while people could work from anywhere because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much has changed in just the past few months. This is mostly because mortgage interest rates have spiked above 5%, making homes substantially more expensive.

In some of America’s cities, the time it took to sell a home had dropped to just a few days. Active listings per 10,000 homes were very low as well. A Realtor.com report titled From Bust to Boon: Here’s Where Home Listings Are Climbing by Triple Digits shows just how much that has changed.

Ali Wolf, the chief economist at housing research firm Zonda, commented, “We’ve just experienced a record affordability shock. It’s never been stretched so quickly. It’s like a rubber band being pulled tight—and then released. The result is more available homes and fewer sales.”

In the top 300 metropolitan areas, active listings per 10,000 homes were 101.5 in July. That was up from 77.0 in the same month last year.

The city with the worst rise in listings per 10,000 homes was Panama City, Florida. Its figure was 453.0, up from 219.5 a year ago. One reason for the problem, according to the experts, is that it has been blitzed by hurricanes.

According to the Census Bureau, Panama City has a population of 34,405. Seventy-one percent of the population is white and 21% is Black. At $169,100, the median home value is well below the national figure. The median income of $48,185 is also lower than the national numbers.

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