The COVID-19 pandemic has driven many Americans to seek homes in suburban areas that provide more space and are not as congested as apartments in big cities. Yet many other homeowners have been reluctant to sell during the pandemic, and the construction of new homes has foundered amid shortages of materials, land and labor.
That left just 1.32 million existing homes for sale in July, down 12% from a year earlier. Yet there are signs that the high prices are encouraging more people to sell, as the number of available homes rose in July compared with the previous month.
Another challenge for would-be homebuyers is competition from investors, including some Wall Street firms, who are purchasing single-family homes for rent. Nearly a quarter of all existing home sales in July were all-cash sales, up from 16% a year earlier.