Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Report: Housing Inventory declines 17% year-over-year in December

by Bill McBride on 1/16/2013 04:01:00 PM

From Realtor.com: December 2012 Real Estate Trend Data

The total U.S. for-sale inventory of single family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops (SFH/CTHCOPS) in December dropped to its lowest point since Realtor.com has been collecting these data, with 1,565,425 units for sale, down 17.32% compared to a year ago and roughly half its peak of 3.1 million units in September 2007. The median age of the inventory also decreased 9.01% on a year-over-year basis.
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On a year-over-year basis, the for-sale inventory declined in all but one of the 146 markets tracked by Realtor.com, while list prices increased in 66 markets, held steady in 31 markets and declined in 49 markets.
Note: Realtor.com only started tracking inventory in September 2007, but this is probably the lowest level in a decade.  On a month-over-month basis, inventory declined 6.5%. Some of the decline in December is seasonal because some sellers take their homes off the market for the holidays.

Going forward, I expect to see smaller year-over-year declines simply because inventory is already very low.

Tom Lawler sent me this note today:

"Realtor.com’s monthly numbers reflect the daily average number of listings in a month, as opposed to most local realtor reports and the NAR’s existing home inventory number, which are end-of-month estimates."

Realtor.com vs. NAR inventory Click on graph for larger image.

"Here is a comparison of Realtor.com’s for-sale inventory numbers and the NAR’s existing home inventory estimate.

As noted above, the Realtor.com data reflect monthly average listings, while the NAR estimates are end-of-month listings. Given the “normal” tendency for listings at the end of December to be well below the monthly average, the NAR December inventory number is likely to show a significantly larger monthly decline that the Realtor.com number."

The NAR is scheduled to report December existing home sales and inventory on Tuesday, January 22nd.

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