InvestingMarkets & Economy

January market reports: Inventories are down to the wire

  • Unless sellers respond in record numbers, low inventories will impact the spring season, according to the nation’s top six January market reports that cover sales, prices and inventories.
  • The year opened with strong sales and even stronger prices, forces that put even more pressure on supplies to maintain the recovery’s momentum over the months to come.
  • Lack of affordability has slowed sales and prices in the West as Southern markets move into leadership positions. Slower demand and inventory shortages plague many Midwestern and Northeastern markets.

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January is the month when real estate markets traditionally take a breather to restock their shelves for the spring season. In the final quarter of 2016, record demand powered by concern over mortgage interest rates and rising prices encouraged buyers to clear the shelves of depleted supplies -- and strong sales continued into the new year, too. An analysis of the January market reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Redfin, Re/Max, Trulia and Zillow -- and a February report from realtor.com -- provides a consensus on the important trends shaping today’s residential real estate economy. Whether markets will be able to resupply MLSs with adequate numbers of homes for sale to meet demand in time for the coming sales season tops the list of concerns. The inventory crisis deepens Declining inventories of homes for sale is a problem that's been notable since the beginning of housing recovery in 2013 and has grow more serious over the past two years. Inventor...