In Tighter Market, More Home Sellers Making Concessions

Redfin, Seattle, reported sellers gave concessions to buyers in 45.5% of home sales recorded by Redfin agents during the three months ending February 28, the highest share of any three-month period since June 2020.

This compares to 31.1% one year earlier.

The report said concessions have become increasingly common because rising mortgage rates and stubbornly high home prices have caused many buyers to put their plans on hold, which has motivated sellers to throw in freebies to attract the buyers who remain. Redfin agents report that sellers are offering to fund repairs, cover closing costs and pay for bidders to buy down their mortgage rates.

Courtesy Redfin, Seattle.

Just two years ago, a surge in homebuyer competition fueled by rock-bottom mortgage rates forced buyers to offer everything but the kitchen sink to win. The average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate is now 6.73%, up from 3.85% a year ago, which has increased the typical homebuyer’s monthly mortgage payment by nearly $600.

“Buyers today are way more demanding and selective,” said Elena Fleck, a Redfin real estate agent in Palm Beach, Fla. “They’re willing to wait to find the perfect house, which wasn’t the case during the pandemic homebuying boom…Any home with a roof that’s over eight years old is just sitting—buyers don’t want to put any additional funds into repairs. I had a few sellers offer credits for new roofs to close the deal. We’re also seeing more buyers ask for credits toward their closing costs.”

The report said in addition to offering more concessions, sellers have become increasingly likely to sell their home for less money than they originally hoped for. That can happen when a seller cuts their asking price, accepts an offer below the asking price or both. A record 25.2% of home sales recorded by Redfin buyers’ agents included both a concession and a final sale price below the list price during the three months ending February 28. A record 20.6% included both a concession and a listing-price cut that occurred while the home was on the market. A record 13% included all three.

In Seattle, sellers gave concessions to buyers in 51.6% of home sales during the three months ending February 28, up from 20.1% a year earlier. That’s the largest percentage-point increase among the 22 U.S. metropolitan areas for which there was sufficient data. Next came Las Vegas (30.6 ppts), Denver (26.2 ppts), San Diego (23.3 ppts) and Phoenix (22.4 ppts). Only two metros saw concessions less common than they were a year earlier: Austin, Texas (-3 ppts) and Chicago (-2.1 ppts).