Monday, May 07, 2012

Housing: Inventory declines 21% year-over-year in early May

by Bill McBride on 5/07/2012 02:31:00 PM

Another update: I've been using inventory numbers from HousingTracker / DeptofNumbers to track changes in listed inventory. Tom Lawler mentioned this last year.

According to the deptofnumbers.com for (54 metro areas), inventory is off 20.7% compared to the same week last year. Unfortunately the deptofnumbers only started tracking inventory in April 2006.

This graph shows the NAR estimate of existing home inventory through March (left axis) and the HousingTracker data for the 54 metro areas through early May.

NAR vs. HousingTracker.net Existing Home InventoryClick on graph for larger image.

Since the NAR released their revisions for sales and inventory, the NAR and HousingTracker inventory numbers have tracked pretty well.

Seasonally housing inventory usually bottoms in December and January and then starts to increase again through mid to late summer. So seasonally inventory should increase over the next several months.

The second graph shows the year-over-year change in inventory for both the NAR and HousingTracker.

HousingTracker.net YoY Home InventoryHousingTracker reported that the early May listings - for the 54 metro areas - declined 20.7% from the same period last year. So far in 2012, there has only been a small seasonal increase in inventory.

The year-over-year decline might start to slow since listed inventory is getting close to normal levels. In March, the NAR reported listed inventory was back to 2004 or 2005 levels. Of course sales are much lower now than in 2004 and 2005, so the months-of-supply is still at 6.3 months.

Also, if there is an increase in foreclosures, this might slow the year-over-year decline - but right now the decline in inventory remains a significant story.

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