Inventories of homes, condos, townhouses and co-ops shrank for the third month in a row in July, falling 1.2 percent from June and 17.6 percent from a year ago, to 2.31 million, according to the latest numbers from Realtor.com.

Although shrinking inventories can be a positive sign, reflecting a rise in demand, it can also be a sign of volatility, as in some markets the decline in inventory is tied to a slowdown in foreclosures, restricting the supply of real estate owned (REO) properties.

When lenders resolve regulatory and legal issues related to loss mitigation and foreclosure practices, the flow of REO properties will resume. Areas with high unemployment rates and large numbers of seriously delinquent borrowers could again see inventories swell, Realtor.com said in summarizing listings data from the site.

Inventories of homes, condos, townhouses and co-ops shrank for the third month in a row in July, falling 1.2 percent from June and 17.6 percent from a year ago, to 2.31 million, according to the latest numbers from Realtor.com.

Although shrinking inventories can be a positive sign, reflecting a rise in demand, it can also be a sign of volatility, as in some markets the decline in inventory is tied to a slowdown in foreclosures, restricting the supply of real estate owned (REO) properties.

When lenders resolve regulatory and legal issues related to loss mitigation and foreclosure practices, the flow of REO properties will resume. Areas with high unemployment rates and large numbers of seriously delinquent borrowers could again see inventories swell, Realtor.com said in summarizing listings data from the site.

Among the 146 markets most searched by Realtor.com users, the total number of listings grew from a year ago in only three: Syracuse, N.Y.; Hartford, Conn.; and El Paso, Texas.

Half of the 20 markets with the greatest declines in July are in Florida — a judicial foreclosure state that’s been at the center of the "robo signing" scandal.

Top 20 markets for inventory declines

Market Listings Change from year ago Change from June

Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Mich.

7,747
-47.29%
-2.17%

Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla.

11,612
-40.52%
-5.43%

Boise City, Idaho

3,516
-40.37%
-4.17%

Savannah, Ga.

1,637
-37.74%
-3.37%

Mobile, Ala.

8,544
-36.22%
-1.46%

Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, Fla.

5,531
-35.78%
-4.15%

Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.

3,659
-35.75%
-4.85%

Naples, Fla.

7,638
-34.98%
-10.02%

Daytona Beach, Fla.

7,949
-31.95%
-3.70%

Bakersfield, Calif.

3,349
-30.38%
-2.90%

Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.

8,446
-29.65%
-4.87%

Pensacola, Fla.

4,443
-29.47%
-4.57%

Portland-Vancouver, Ore.-Wash.

10,622
-29.32%
-0.39%

Ocala, Fla.

3,584
-28.33%
-4.41%

Jacksonville, Fla.

11,948
-27.47%
-4.44%

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.

11,318
-27.16%
-0.29%

Santa Fe, N.M.

1,946
-26.32%
1.78%

Salem, Ore.

3,181
-25.82%
-2.16%

Richmond-Petersburg, Va.

7,683
-25.56%
-2.61%

Punta Gorda, Fla.

2,843
-25.25%
-4.63%

Source: Realtor.com

The nationwide median list price for single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses and co-ops remained at $189,900 in July, the same as in June and essentially unchanged from a year ago.

The 10 markets with the largest year-over-year increase in median list price included seven in Florida: Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla. (31.9 percent); Miami, Fla. (24.5 percent); Naples, Fla. (16.5 percent); Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. (11.9 percent); Fort Wayne, Ind. (10.6 percent); Punta Gorda, Fla. (9.8 percent); Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie, Fla. (9.7 percent); Peoria-Pekin, Ill. (8.9 percent); Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla. (8 percent); and Shreveport-Bossier City., La. (8 percent).

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