Inventories of homes, condos, townhouses and co-ops shrank for the fourth month in a row in August, falling 1.9 percent from July and 19 percent from a year ago, to 2.27 million, according to the latest numbers from Realtor.com.

Among the 146 markets most searched by Realtor.com users, the total number of listings increased from a year ago in only three: Denver, Colo. (+53.8 percent), El Paso, Texas (+6.3 percent) and Hartford, Conn. (+2.2 percent).

Inventories were down by 10 percent or more from a year ago in 118 markets, including declines of nearly 50 percent in Miami, Orlando and Fort Myers.

Shrinking inventories can signal a rise in demand, but may also reflect a slowdown in homes moving through the foreclosure process that restricts the supply of real estate owned (REO) properties.

Areas with high unemployment rates and large numbers of seriously delinquent borrowers could again see inventories swell as lenders put the "robo signing" scandal behind them.

Inventories of homes, condos, townhouses and co-ops shrank for the fourth month in a row in August, falling 1.9 percent from July and 19 percent from a year ago, to 2.27 million, according to the latest numbers from Realtor.com.

Among the 146 markets most searched by Realtor.com users, the total number of listings increased from a year ago in only three: Denver, Colo. (up 53.8 percent), El Paso, Texas (up 6.3 percent) and Hartford, Conn. (up 2.2 percent).

Inventories were down by 10 percent or more from a year ago in 118 markets, including declines of nearly 50 percent in Miami, Orlando and Fort Myers.

Shrinking inventories can signal a rise in demand, but may also reflect a slowdown in homes moving through the foreclosure process that restricts the supply of real estate owned (REO) properties.

Areas with high unemployment rates and large numbers of seriously delinquent borrowers could again see inventories swell as lenders put the "robo signing" scandal behind them.

Eleven of the 20 markets with the greatest inventory declines in August were in Florida — a judicial foreclosure state that’s been ground zero in the robo-signing scandal.

Top 20 markets for inventory declines

Market

Listings (August 2011)

Change from year ago

Change from July

Miami, Fla.

14,008

-47.89%

-3.34%

Orlando, Fla.

11,699

-45.81%

-3.12%

Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.

19,971

-45.29%

-5.75%

Boise City, Idaho

3,390

-41.60%

-3.58%

Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla.

11,470

-40.99%

-1.22%

Savannah, Ga.

1,550

-38.17%

-5.32%

Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.

3,521

-38.08%

-3.77%

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

14,319

-37.54%

-4.10%

Naples, Fla.

7,372

-37.08%

-3.48%

Bakersfield, Calif.

3,230

-36.90%

-3.57%

Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, Fla.

5,340

-36.81%

-3.46%

Daytona Beach, Fla.

7,772

-32.68%

-2.22%

Oakland, Calif.

7,696

-31.88%

-4.51%

Ocala, Fla.

3,424

-31.41%

-4.45%

Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.

8,150

-31.17%

-3.49%

Pensacola, Fla.

4,379

-30.98%

-1.43%

Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Mich.

7,631

-30.87%

-1.49%

Fresno, Calif.

3,858

-30.65%

-9.79%

Portland-Vancouver, Ore.-Wash.

10,481

-30.46%

-1.32%

Jacksonville, Fla.

11,579

-29.77%

-3.09%

Source: Realtor.com

The nationwide median list price for single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses and co-ops remained at $189,900 in August, unchanged from June and July and up less than 0.5 percent from a year ago.

Median list price was up by 1 percent or more in 64 of the 146 markets tracked, down in 49, and unchanged in the remaining 33 — a steady improvement over trends reported in June and July.

Declining inventories can provide support for home prices — median list prices held steady or were up from a year ago in 15 of the 20 markets experiencing the greatest inventory declines in August. Eight of those markets also made the list of 20 markets experiencing the greatest year-over-year increases in median list price.

Top 20 markets for increase in median list price

Market

Median list price (August 2011)

Change from year ago

Change from July

Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla.

$213,000

33.21%

-2.07%

Miami, Fla.

$249,000

24.56%

0.00%

Naples, Fla.

$359,900

20.01%

-0.03%

Punta Gorda, Fla.

$169,900

13.34%

-1.35%

Fort Wayne, Ind.

$112,700

12.70%

0.00%

Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.

$229,900

10.00%

-2.17%

Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

$174,900

9.38%

0.00%

Daytona Beach, Fla.

$174,990

9.37%

0.28%

Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.

$129,500

8.82%

0.00%

Trenton, N.J.

$264,900

8.12%

0.00%

Peoria-Pekin, Ill.

$144,900

7.33%

-1.36%

Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie, Fla.

$155,000

6.97%

-2.52%

Boise City, Idaho

$149,500

6.86%

0.34%

Toledo, Ohio

$114,900

6.49%

0.00%

Dayton-Springfield, Ohio

$113,625

6.19%

1.00%

Oakland, Calif.

$339,000

5.94%

-1.74%

San Antonio, Texas

$180,000

5.94%

0.06%

Springfield, Ill.

$126,950

5.88%

1.56%

Washington, D.C.-Md.-Va.-W.Va.

$369,992

5.74%

-1.32%

Honolulu, Hawaii

$465,000

5.68%

2.42%

Source: Realtor.com

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