”Survey says” looks at various rankings and scorecards judging geographic locations while noting these grades are best seen as a mix of artful interpretation and data.
Buzz: Not only did California house hunters have to pick from far pricier homes in the pandemic era, but the size of what’s on the market shrank, too.
Source: My trusty spreadsheet and I reviewed Realtor.com stats on the median size of listings and the per-square-foot pricing of homes on the market. We focused on yearly averages by state for 2022’s first 10 months and how that compared with results from pre-pandemic 2019 and 2021.
The typical California residence for sale this year was 1,750 square feet. That’s 104 square feet less than what was for sale in pre-pandemic 2019 – or 6% smaller.
At the same time, the cost of that living space skyrocketed. California listings average $444 per square foot this year, 40% higher than in 2019.
The pandemic’s work-at-home and school-at-home lifestyle created a demand for larger homes. So it makes some sense that smaller homes hit the market more frequently.
House hunters in California weren’t the only ones suffering this less-home-for-more-money indignity.
California had the 12th smallest average listing this year at 1,750 square feet. The largest homes for sale were in Utah at 2,485 square feet, then Wyoming at 2,244, Colorado at 2,176, Delaware at 2,154 and Georgia at 2,148.
The smallest listings were found in Hawaii at 1,228 square feet, then New York at 1,564, Rhode Island at 1,569, Iowa at 1,578 and Michigan at 1,585.
And compared with 2019, the benchmark California listing was 104 square feet smaller, the 28th largest drop in the U.S.
The biggest shrinkage was seen in New York, down 247 square feet in three years, then Illinois down 200, Georgia down 198, Texas down 197, and New Jersey down 193. In fact, 44 states had smaller homes on the market this year vs. three years ago.
The six “growth” states, places with larger-sized listings since 2019, were Delaware, up 138 square feet, then Wyoming at 121, Alaska and Nebraska at 70, Nevada at 10 and New Mexico at six.
This loss of living space makes rising home costs even more agonizing for buyers. Ponder listings on a price-per-square-foot yardstick.
California had the second-most costly listings this year at $444 per square foot, trailing only Hawaii at $683. Third was Massachusetts at $379, New York at $353 and Washington at $326.
The cheapest listings were in West Virginia at $114 per square foot, followed by Mississippi at $123, Ohio at $127, Kansas at $131 and Arkansas at $133.
The real pain comes when we compare these price hikes to 2019.
California’s per-square-foot listing price is up 40% – and that’s only the 24th-highest jump. Tops was Montana at 80%, then Idaho at 70%, Utah at 64%, New York at 62% and Tennessee at 56%.
The smallest gains in three years were found in North Dakota at 23%, then Louisiana and West Virginia at 24%, Maryland at 25% and Mississippi at 26%.
In 2022, it’s back to the office for many and back to the classroom for the kids. Add in soaring mortgage rates and a homebuying cooldown. Now the less-for-more pace has slowed.
The typical 2022 California listing was only 12 square feet smaller than the 2021 size. And 32 states have larger homes for sale this year.
Plus, California listing prices are up only 2% for 2022, the smallest gain among the states. New York was up 3%, Illinois and Massachusetts rose 5% and Michigan increased 6%.
The biggest per-square-foot hikes are in Montana at 25%, Wyoming at 22%, Tennessee and South Dakota at 20% and Kansas at 19%.
Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]