Housing Inventory Crunch Starting to Slowly Ease
Lewis Goodkin, a South Florida housing consultant, said prices will even out once investors scatter, giving more opportunities to traditional buyers. “To me, that’s the sign of a healthy housing market,” he said. The competition for homes has frustrated buyers, forcing some to extend their searches for weeks or months and depleting the supply of properties. Broward County had 4,440 homes for sale at the end of August, down 6 percent from a year ago.
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Inventory just barely nudged up, to a 5-month supply from 4.9 months a month ago. A separate, seasonally adjusted measure of inventory, which Trulia calculates from NARs numbers, shows inventory has grown 7 months in a row and stood at 2.07 million units in August, up 5.1% from January but still down about 6% from a year ago. Whats happening is rising housing prices are inspiring many newly optimistic homeowners to put their property on the market, while at the same time reducing the number of underwater borrowers who until recently couldnt sell their homes because they owned more on their mortgage than the home was worth. With more people putting homes on the market and the pace of sales easing due to the regular fall slowdown and rising mortgage rates, there are more homes on the shelf. Nobody to learn more wants to sell right after prices bottomed, but its been 18 months since prices bottomed and more homeowners are feeling as if theyve waited long enough, said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. Housing inventory has taken wild swings through the housing bust and subsequent recovery, moving from a gluttonous drag on prices in the downturn to todays depleted stock that has left home buyers bidding up the little left to choose from.
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