The number of homes for sale nationwide has been rising steadily so far this year but is still somewhat restricted from the numbers seen at this time in 2012, leading to speculation about the eagerness of buyers to deal with the frustration this lack of inventory can typically engender.
Overall, the amount of homes on the market at the beginning of June stood 12.2 percent below those seen at the same time in 2012, according to new data from the online real estate marketplace Zillow. However, the number had improved some 5.3 percent since January, potentially indicating that slowly improving prices are once again pulling more sellers into the market.
What may be more interesting, though, is the sometimes wild disparity between the number of properties for sale in some of the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas, the report said. For instance, inventory in Phoenix, where the housing market took a beating during the downturn, led the nation by rising 31.9 percent on an annual basis, well ahead of San Diego (14.9 percent) and Minneapolis (13.5 percent), which finished in the second and third spots. Meanwhile, Las Vegas, another of the cities hit hardest by the meltdown, saw inventory drop 55.2 percent from the same period a year earlier.
“Inventory will likely remain below year-ago levels for a while yet, as builders ramp up capacity and sellers wait to squeeze every drop of equity from their home before listing,” said Zillow chief economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “But a corner has been turned. Going forward, as this new supply makes its way to market, we expect the pace of home value appreciation to slow down from unsustainably high annual levels of 5 percent or above to more moderate levels closer to historic norms of 3 percent or 4 percent.”
The type of homes that most moved off the market during the 12-month period were the most expensive, with top- and middle-tier homes each seeing drops of 15.7 percent in inventory overall, the report said. Meanwhile, low-cost property availability only dipped 2.5 percent.
Millions of Americans may now be in a financial position to move into the housing market, but may be held out by the lack of available homes. Frustration with this process has been reported among many prospective buyers currently looking to buy today, though the restricted inventory combined with high demand is likely only going to drive prices higher.