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Home tours plummeted by half this year in Western states

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Nationwide, home showing activity in October was down 27 percent year over year. In the West, the drop-off was nearly twice as steep.

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Home tour activity has been cut in half over the last year in Western states and remains far lower nearly everywhere as the drop-off deepened further in October, according to a recent report from Zillow’s ShowingTime service.

Showing activity declined 7 percent from September to October and was down 27 percent from this time last year, according to the service’s Showing Index, which tracks the number of home tours scheduled on more than 6 million listings nationwide. 

“With fewer new listings hitting the market in October and buyers who continue to struggle with affordability challenges, it seems both sides are sitting out this market cooldown,” ShowingTime+ Vice President of Sales and Industry Mike Lane said in the report. “We’re seeing this play out in home showing activity across the country as it continues to drop from pandemic highs, and we expect it to contribute to continued declines in sales heading into the new year.”

The change hit some regions harder than others.

In Western states from California to Colorado, showing activity for the typical listing was 50 percent lower than in October of 2021. 

Southern states also saw a big drop-off in tour activity. The index fell by 34 percent in the South over the last 12 months, suggesting that showings there have fallen faster than they have nationwide.

The Midwest and Northeast each fared a bit better. These regions saw declines in showing activity of less than 25 percent over the past year, according to the index.

The trend has been broadly felt in nearly every U.S. metro area. The 25 largest metros ShowingTime researched each posted big year-over-year declines. 

Of these major cities, Chicago, Cincinnati and St. Louis saw the smallest drop-offs in showings per home listing, each declining around 15 percent.

But a number of the country’s biggest home markets have seen interest in visiting homes for sale fall off a cliff in the past year.

In Seattle, Austin, Boise, Denver and Phoenix, the number of home showings per listing was less than half as high in October than it was during the same period last year. And eight additional metros from this list of 25 saw declines of at least 40 percent year over year.

The speed of this change may be jarring for homesellers, but it’s beginning to put showing activity more in line with that of a typical market, Zillow spokesperson Anna Tilden said in an email.

A combination of record-low mortgage rates and a wave of buyer demand conspired to drive the home market into a frenzied state in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic began. New listings were getting scooped up quickly, and properties on the market attracted interest – and visits – from an unusual number of buyers.

Now, the dynamic between homebuyers and sellers is quickly shifting back away from those extremes as mortgage rates settle at much higher levels.

“While home showing activity is still above pre-pandemic norms, it’s approaching levels associated with a more balanced market,” Tilden wrote. “Most for-sale properties averaged between three and eight showings last month.”

Email Daniel Houston

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