by CalculatedRisk on 9/06/2011
From Jon Lansner at the O.C. Register: Sellers rush to pull homes off O.C. market
The latest Orange County home inventory report from local broker Steve Thomas — data as of September 1 [shows] sellers quit the market in droves.
As more homeowners throw in the towel with the realization that the best time of the year to sell has now passed, the inventory continues to steadily drop. Last year at this time the inventory was still growing, continuing right through September. Not this year. Over the past month, the inventory has shed a total of 349 homes and now totals 10,754, dropping below the 11,000 mark and reaching levels not seen since March. In the last two weeks alone, the inventory dropped by 297 homes, the largest drop so far this year. Last year there were 963 more homes on the market compared to today. In transitioning into the fall market, expect more homeowners to throw the proverbial towel. This will continue through the end of the year.
It is normal for inventory to decline as the summer ends, so this decline is mostly seasonal. However, not mentioned in the article, is that this is an 8.2% decline from the same period in 2010.
I’ve been using the HousingTracker / DeptofNumbers data that Tom Lawler mentioned back in June to track inventory. Ben at deptofnumbers.com is tracking the aggregate monthly inventory for 54 metro areas.
This graph shows the NAR estimate of existing home inventory through July (left axis) and the HousingTracker data for the 54 metro areas through early September. The HousingTracker data shows a steeper decline in inventory over the last few years (the NAR will probably revise down their inventory estimates this fall).
HousingTracker reported that the early September listings – for the 54 metro areas – declined 16.5% from last September. Of course there is a large percentage of distressed inventory, and various categories of “shadow inventory” too. But this is a significant year-over-year decline and pretty soon we will be talking about inventory being at the lowest level since 2005 (inventory increased sharply near the end of 2005 signaling the end of the housing bubble).