Thursday, May 17, 2018

Update: Housing Inventory Tracking

by Bill McBride on 5/17/2018 03:16:00 PM

Update: Watching existing home "for sale" inventory is very helpful. As an example, the increase in inventory in late 2005 helped me call the top for housing.

And the decrease in inventory eventually helped me correctly call the bottom for house prices in early 2012, see: The Housing Bottom is Here.

And in 2015, it appeared the inventory build in several markets was ending, and that boosted price increases. 

I don't have a crystal ball, but watching inventory helps understand the housing market.

The graph below shows the year-over-year change for non-contingent inventory in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Sacramento (all through April), and also total existing home inventory as reported by the NAR (through March 2018).

Note: For Phoenix, there was a discrepancy between the "Market Report" and the "Stats Report".  For this graph, I'm using the Stats Report.

Click on graph for larger image.

This shows the year-over-year change in inventory for Phoenix, Sacramento, and Las Vegas.  The black line if the year-over-year change in inventory as reported by the NAR.

Note that inventory in Sacramento was up 18% year-over-year in April (inventory was still very low), and has increased year-over-year for seven consecutive months. 

Also note the inventory is still down 19.5% in Las Vegas (red), but the YoY decline has been getting smaller - and it is very possible that inventory will up year-over-year in Las Vegas later this year.

I'll try to add a few other markets.

Inventory is a key for the housing market, and I will be watching inventory for the impact of the new tax law and higher mortgage rates on housing.  It appears the inventory decline might be ending in some markets.