The Housing Market’s Missing Middle

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

A couple with a dog on a city walk

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It’s pretty hard to find a house to buy these days, especially if you’re not in the market for a mansion or a bottom-barrel fixer-upper.

The chart below illustrates just why it’s so hard to find mid-priced homes as low mortgage rates and a desire for more space keep demand for real estate far heavier than supply. The number of active listings classified by realtor Redfin as “mid-priced” is down nearly 20% in the year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit (through the first quarter), compared to just 5.1% for “luxury” homes. In fact, the choices on both extremes of the pricing scale have been far less severely impacted than the vast majority of listings somewhere in the middle.

The data is broken down into five segments —”luxury” homes are homes in the top 5% by market value; “most affordable,” the bottom 5% by market value. The other three tiers—“affordable,” “mid-priced” and “expensive” account for the other 90% and are equal-sized.