The inventory of existing homes for sale in today’s market was recently reported to be at a 3.6-month supply according to the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report. Inventory is now 7.1% lower than this time last year, marking the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year drops. Historically, inventory must reach a 6-month supply for a normal market where home prices appreciate with inflation. Anything less than a 6-month supply is a sellers’ market, where the demand for houses outpaces supply and prices go up. As you can see from the chart below, the United States has been in a sellers’ market since August 2012, but last month’s numbers reached a new low.
Nationally, buyers are searching for starter and trade-up homes and are coming up short with the listings available, leading to a highly competitive seller’s market in these categories. Ninety-two of the top 100 metros have a shortage in trade-up inventory. Premium homebuyers have the best chance of less competition and a surplus of listings in their price range with an 11-point surplus, leading to more of a buyer’s market.
“It leaves Americans who are in the market for a home increasingly chasing too fewer options in lower price ranges, and sellers of premium homes more likely to be left waiting longer for a buyer.”
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist doesn’t see an end to this coming any time soon:
“Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range.”
Real estate is local. If you are thinking about buying OR selling this spring, sit with a local real estate professional who can share with you the exact market conditions in your area.