Inventory of homes for sale soars 10 percent in February from a year ago

Rising prices, low inventory point to a seller's market

Rising home prices are bolstering seller confidence, fueling rapid growth in the number of homes for sale in many markets in February, according to a report issued by realtor.com today.

Median list prices were up 7.6 percent from a year ago in February, to $199,000, and the inventory of homes for sale rose 10.1 percent, to 1.74 million. In other words, there were 160,000 more homes for sale than the same time a year ago.

Sea of homes image via Shutterstock.
Sea of homes image via Shutterstock.

Out of 146 markets tracked by realtor.com, 99 experienced annual growth in listings, with 63 of those markets seeing inventories swell by 10 percent or more.

Median list prices and inventory were up on a month-over-month basis as well, rising 2.1 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, indicating that 2014 home sales, which got off to a slow start in January, have potential to grow as the spring buying season gets underway.

But even with the recent surge in listings, inventories “are still extremely low,” realtor.com said in summarizing the overall picture.

“Seller confidence is the factor to watch as we head into the spring homebuying season, and these are very encouraging indicators — not only are more homes coming onto the market, but typically we don’t see a rise in asking prices this early into the year,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of realtor.com operator Move Inc., in a statement. “This is the market these sellers have been waiting for.”

Homes in realtor.com’s database include 90 percent of all homes listed in U.S. multiple listing services. According to realtor.com, the homes it was tracking in February had been on the market for a median of 114 days, up 6.5 percent from a year ago but down 0.9 percent from January.

Markets in California and Florida saw the greatest year-over-year gains in inventory in February, with Stockton-Lodi, Calif., topping the chart of the 145 markets realtor.com covers.

Inventory in Stockton-Lodi registered a 101.1 percent growth from February 2013 to February 2014, followed by Fresno, Calif., at 53.3 percent, Bakersfield, Calif., at 52.1 percent, Orlando at 49.2 percent, and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., at 46.4 percent.

Markets with the greatest percentage increase in year-over-year inventory in February 2014

Market YoY % increase in No. of listings, February 2014 No. of listings, February 2014
Stockton-Lodi, Calif. 101.1% 1,740
Fresno, Calif. 53.3% 2,933
Bakersfield, Calif. 52.1% 2,754
Orlando, Fla. 49.2% 13,425
Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. 46.4% 21,221
Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz. 45.3% 23,654
Oakland, Calif. 42.3% 2,715
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.-Wis. 38.4% 15,431
Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla. 38.4% 4,247
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y. 38.0% 4,294

 Source: realtor.com

Markets that saw the largest percentage drops in inventory from February 2013 to February 2014 were largely found in the middle of the country.

Colorado Springs, Colo., experienced the largest percentage year-over-year drop in inventory with 12.4 percent, followed by Denver at 12.3 percent, Columbus, Ohio, at 10.5 percent, Chicago at 10.1 percent, and Wichita, Kan., at 9.9 percent.

Markets with the greatest percentage decrease in year-over-year inventory in February 2014

Market YoY % change in No. of listings, February 2014 No. of listings, February 2014
Colorado Springs, Colo. -12.4% 3,323
Denver -12.3% 5,475
Columbus, Ohio -10.5% 8,630
Chicago -10.1% 45,998
Wichita, Kan. -9.9% 2,748
Knoxville, Tenn. -9.1% 7,674
South Bend, Ind. -8.5% 1,514
Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Mich. -8.2% 4,529
Pueblo, Colo. -7.5% 857
Boston-Worcester-Lawrence-Lowell-Brockton, Mass.-N.H. -7.1% 15,247

 Source: realtor.com


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