Housing Inventory Down 20 Percent From 2011

Housing inventories were down more than 20 percent YOY in April, but some questions still remain regarding the data.

Housing inventory is substantially down for existing properties, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, DeptOfNumbers and HousingTracker.

Using data from 54 metropolitan areas, HousingTracker has found that active listings in early April were down 20.4 percent from the same period last year.

Though Calculated Risk, which collected the numbers across a detailed graph, pointed out some nuances to the data, it did stress the importance of the statistical trend.

“This is just inventory listed for sale; there is also a large ‘shadow inventory’ that is currently not on the market, but is expected to be listed in the next few years,” the blog stated. “But this year-over-year decline remains a significant story.”

Coincidentally, we just reported on shadow inventories last week, and how its divergence from visible inventory has cast some doubts on housing’s current recovery.

Calculated Risk also highlighted the latest trends in total existing-inventories in a separate graph, comparing NAR’s data with that of HousingTracker.

The data from NAR had historically contradicted competing accounts of the existing-home market, but the association’s much-followed revisions back in December largely corrected any discrepancies.

Inventories, though, are not completely out of the woods, and not just with the shadow markets. As we reported in January, there are still considerable inconsistencies on the regional side of NAR’s existing-home data. For instance, for the condo markets, condo sales in 2007 were downwardly revised by 12.5 percent. Regionally, though, sales in the South were up by 29.7 percent; sales in the Midwest were down by 31.5 percent; sales in the Northeast were down by 55.5 percent; and sales in the West were up by a mammoth 58.8 percent.

“Huh?” economist Tom Lawler wrote in his newsletter on the data’s wide-ranging characteristics. Lawler has not released any recent studies on those inventory numbers, but even with the recent drop, one has to wonder how regional data stacks up to the national numbers from NAR.

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