by Bill McBride on 12/18/2012
From Realtor.com: November 2012 Real Estate Data
Flat list prices—a leading indicator of future house price trends—most likely signal a slowdown in the recent rate of house price appreciation. At the same time, historically low inventories suggest that significant price concessions on the part of home sellers may be coming to an end. How these potentially offsetting trends play out in the housing market will depend on a variety of factors, including potential buyers’ optimism regarding the continued strength of the overall economy.
The total U.S. for-sale inventory of single family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops (SFH/CTHCOPS) dropped to its lowest point since 2007, with 1.674 million units for sale in November, down 16.87 percent compared to a year ago and more than 45 percent below its peak of 3.1 million units in September 2007, when Realtor.com began monitoring these markets. The median age of the inventory was also down by 11.4 percent on a year-over-year basis. However, the median list price in November ($189,900) was the same as it was a year ago despite the significant gains observed earlier in the year.
The national for-sale inventory of SFH/CTHCOPS in November (1,674,412) decreased (4.69 percent) from what it was in October and was down by 16.87 percent on an annual basis.
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 4.7%, and declined in 133 of 146 markets.
Going forward, I expect to see smaller year-over-year declines simply because inventory is already very low.
The NAR is scheduled to report November existing home sales and inventory on Thursday, December 20th. A key number in the NAR report will be inventory, and inventory will be down sharply again year-over-year in November.