Home Supply Fell Over Past Year

The Wall Street Journal


The supply of homes available for sale in 18 major metropolitan areas in June was down 2.4% from a year earlier, according to figures compiled by ZipRealty Inc., a real-estate brokerage firm based in Emeryville, Calif.

The data cover listings of single-family homes, condominiums and town houses on local multiple-listing services in those areas. It was the first decline for the 18 markets since Zip began collecting the inventory data in mid-2006.

Zip said inventory totals in June were about even with those a month earlier in the 18 metro areas.

Though the supply of homes listed for sale has leveled off after soaring in recent years, it remains plentiful. Nationwide, about 4.5 million previously occupied homes were listed for sale at the end of May, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is enough to last nearly 11 months at the current sales rate, the trade group says. The market is considered roughly in balance between supply and demand when the inventory is enough to last around six months.

The Zip data don’t include New York. But Miller Samuel Inc., an appraisal firm based there, says there were 6,869 cooperative apartments and condominiums available in Manhattan at the end of June, up 31% from a year earlier. Manhattan has remained one of the nation’s strongest markets but is cooling as Wall Street firms shed employees.

The figures from Zip and the Realtors probably understate the supply of homes because not all foreclosed properties that lenders are trying to sell are listed on multiple-listing services.

Integrated Asset Services LLC, a Denver-based company that helps banks value and sell foreclosed homes, said its index shows that the median U.S. home price in May was down 3.2% from April and down 20% from May 2007.