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Housing Inventory Not in Favor of First-Time Homebuyers

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Though overall housing inventory is showing signs of recovery, it’s not progressing in a way that helps first-time homebuyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 2014 has been a very good year for housing inventory.

After falling precariously through much of 2012 and 2013, housing inventory has risen 18.5 percent in the first seven months of the year, jumping from 2.00 million homes to 2.37 million; inventory is also up 5.8 percent from where it was a year ago.

This being the post-boom housing market, though, there is much more to that encouraging stat than meets the eye, and new data from Redfin plain demonstrates the divide – simply, though inventory is on the rise, it’s higher-priced listings that are leading the charge, and lower-priced homes (aka, the ones purchased by first-time homebuyers) continue to see inventory stock slip.

For instance, in just the last year, inventory for homes priced $227,500 and below has fallen 15.7 percent; meanwhile, the inventory of homes priced $549,800 and above has risen 15.6 percent.

Check out our graph below to see how inventory has fallen in specific metro areas in the middle price ranges, and click here to see a more detailed analysis.

Note: “Middle-range” differs from metro area to metro area; national averages are $155,000 to $429,900, while here in Chicago, the range is $130,000 to $385,900.

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