Showings were down across the U.S. in April, which is strange because April is typically when the housing market hits a high point, ShowingTime President Michael Lane said.

A new report out Tuesday indicates that showing activity in April was down compared to both last year at the same time, as well as to March of this year — a trend the report describes as “unusual.”

The report, from showing management company ShowingTime, indicates that 103 U.S. markets experienced double-digit showings per listing in April. This still points to “robust buyer activity,” the report states, though in April 2021 listings in 146 U.S. markets were experiencing double-digit showings. In March of this year, 121 markets saw double-digit showings per listing.

Michael Lane

These numbers ultimately represent a 10.7 percent year-over-year drop in showing activity, as well as a 12.1 percent dip compared to one month earlier. Referring to these numbers, Michael Lane, ShowingTime’s president and general manager, said “April buyer activity was rather unusual, since it typically matches March levels.”

“But this year, April traffic was slower across all markets, pointing to competition softening,” Lane continued. “It contrasts with last year’s dynamic, when demand reached a feverish peak in April.”

The busiest markets for showings in April were scattered across the U.S.: Burlington, Vermont; Richmond, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; Akron, Ohio; Rochester, New York; and Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Looking at entire regions, showings in the Midwest declined in April the least, falling by 7.3 percent. The Northeast landed second place, with an 8.6 percent drop, followed by the South at 11.6 and finally the West at 35.3 percent.

The report does not speculate about the reasons some markets have seen less activity than others.

However, just days ago several economists told Inman interest rates were having a cooling affect on the housing industry. Rates haven’t given buyers the upper hand yet and most places continue to see sellers’ markets, but they are shifting dynamics away from the white-hot environment that has dominated for the last two years.

Significantly, Redfin economist Daryl Fairweather, speaking to Inman last week, suggested there was “some potential for the Midwest to have its moment” as the market shifts. That’s because markets in the Midwest didn’t see quite the same steep home price appreciation during the pandemic that was common in cities such as Boise, Austin and Salt Lake City.

The fact that ShowingTime’s report indicates buyer competition fell the least in the Midwest in April suggests Fairweather’s prediction about which places will thrive in a changing market is coming true.

Meanwhile, a report out Tuesday indicated buyers raced to the market in March in an attempt to outrun then-rising rates — a process that helped make the first quarter of the year one of the most competitive since the pandemic began. More recently, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman has said an arriving market slowdown has led sellers “to freak out,” adding that ultimately “prices are going to soften.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

Redfin | Zillow
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