By Gino Blefari
President & CEO
Intero Real Estate Services, Inc.
Remember that much-needed housing inventory we’ve been discussing here? It’s raising its head above the fold.
The number of homes listed for sale nationwide climbed 4.3% in June to 1.9 million homes, according to data in the Wall Street Journal pulled this week from Realtor.com. It was the highest level we’ve seen in a year.
Does this mean we’re over the hump? Potentially.
Even with the improvement in monthly gains, inventory levels continue to be below year-ago comparisons. The number of homes listed for sale nationwide in June was 7.3% below levels of last year. But note the improvement from February, when inventories were 18.6% below the year before.
Inventories were up in 20 cities in June compared to May, with a notable spike in Southern California where available home listings jumped 51.5% in Orange County, 45.7% in Los Angeles, and 18.1% in San Diego.
The data pointed out four markets of the nation’s largest 30 where the number of listings was above last year’s levels. They were: Sacramento (up 11%), Atlanta (up 10.9%), Phoenix (up 6.2%), and Miami (2.2%).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, five cities had inventory levels that were well below last year’s levels, including Boston (down 35.1%), Denver (down 30.1%), Detroit (down 25.7%), Seattle (down 23.2%), and San Francisco (down 21.7%).
The falling numbers in these cities isn’t a good sign for buyers. Markets will continue to be tight, at least in the short term, as demand remains high. We may see further price increases as a result.
On the other side, however, a tightened supply and healthy demand could help more homeowners in these markets jump off the fence and list their homes for sale if they’ve been waiting for more signs the market is back.
It’s a tough balancing act. But all in all, inventories appear to have reversed their freefall in some markets, while continuing to be scarce in others. As with all things real estate, it’s all about location. That’s why it’s always so difficult to answer the question everyone wants to ask, “How’s the market?”
Stay tuned as we continue to watch these numbers closely.