The housing market is cooling off across America, as it’s taking longer for sellers to find buyers in most major cities.

According to a new report by Creditnews Research, homes in 95 of the top 100 metros by population were selling at a slower pace in the first quarter of 2024 compared to a quarter before.

The study compared how long a home stayed on the market before reaching “pending” status, or when the seller received and accepted an offer.

In the ten slowest-selling metros, it took an average of 39 to 60 days for a home to reach pending status.

Austin, TX, was at the bottom of the list, with the typical home listing staying an average of 60 days on the market. At 53 days, the Texas city of McAllen was a close second.

In the ten fastest-selling metros, average homes stayed on the market for seven to 11 days. Hartford, CT, Syracuse, NY, Harrisburg, PA, and Rochester, NY, all had an average days to pending of less than ten days.

While housing market conditions vary greatly across the country, no metro sold faster last quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2023. In fact, in 95 of the top 100 metros, listings took longer to sell.

In the remaining five metros, the average days to pending did not change.

The study found a strong connection between home sales and housing inventories. “Between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024, six of the top 10 slowest-selling metros were in areas that had the highest number of listings per 1,000 citizens,” the report stated.

Experts don’t expect conditions to improve anytime soon.

Housing’s largest segment weakened in March

Existing home sales, which account for 88% of the residential real estate market, declined by 4.3% in March, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales were down 3.7% year-over-year.

With 3.2 months of supply—up from 2.7 months in March 2023—housing inventory has improved over the past year. But that’s not enough to fill the housing deficit and keep home prices from appreciating further.

In fact, data from shows that the housing supply is still 37.9% below typical pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, millions of potential homebuyers remain in limbo because mortgage rates remain prohibitively high. “[H]ome sales are stuck because interest rates have not made any major moves,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

The latest data from Freddie Mac shows that average 30-year fixed-rate mortgages reached 7.1% last week, having gained more than one full point since January.

That probably explains why cash buyers are making up a growing share of overall purchases. The NAR data showed that all-cash purchases accounted for 28% of sales in March and 33% in February. The pre-pandemic average was around 20%.

“There’s so many mixed signals now in the market that for many people, it’s just too much,” Selma Hepp, chief economist at CoreLogic, told The Wall Street Journal. “I think they’re just sitting it out.”

And they probably do so for good reason.

House payments hit record high

The cost of homeownership just reached another grim milestone.

According to Redfin, the average monthly payment for a home purchase increased to $2,775 in the four weeks ending April 14, up 11% year-over-year to a new all-time high. The payment assumes a 30-year mortgage rate of 6.88%, which is below the recent average.

However, that doesn't mean homebuyers should shy away from buying a home, according to Redfin agent Connie Durnal. “If you can afford to and you find a house you love, buy now. There’s no guarantee that rates will come down soon,” she said.

At these prices and interest rate housing costs are disproportionately impacting first-time buyers, according to Nationwide senior economist Ben Ayers.

“Despite strong fundamentals for demand from demographics and a strong labor market, many first-time buyers are being shut out of the market by elevated financing rates and rising prices,” Ayers said.

One potential workaround for first-time buyers could be downsizing to a starter home and moving away from major cities.

According to Creditnews Research, there are still cities that offer first-time buyers the right blend of housing market access, economic opportunities, and affordability.