For-sale inventory records first annual increase since 2008

by Zachary Wright

Housing inventory is steadily recharging around the U.S., giving potential buyers more options. RE/MAX’s latest national housing report found October was the first month to show a year-over-year increase in inventory in nearly 10 years. Compared to one year ago, for-sale inventory increased 1 percent to an average of 3.5 month’s worth.

“The market continues to move toward equilibrium. The modest inventory increase is a much welcome sign for buyers,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos in comments on the new report. “Although home sales were down year-over-year, it’s encouraging to see the magnitude of the decline decrease from the sharp drop we witnessed in September. The trend of easing price increases remains and that’s also a positive.”

However, the 53 largest metros in the country saw different results. The number of homes for sale overall was down 2.6 percent from September. RE/MAX said for the market to be balanced equally between buyers and sellers, the monthly inventory average needs to be at least a 6.0. Out of the 53 metros surveyed, only Miami, at 7.5, had a supply less than 6 month’s worth.

Looking ahead, economists agreed there should be more inventory next year thanks to new construction, in addition to existing listings coming online. Freddie Mac economists estimated total housing starts to finish 2018 at 1.26 million, then grow to 1.3 million in 2019 and 1.4 million by 2020.

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