The Wall Street Journal
6 August 2010
The number of homes listed for sale grew in many U.S. cities in July, a month when inventory typically declines.
The supply of homes available for sale in 26 major metropolitan areas at the end of July increased 2.6% from one month earlier, the seventh straight month-over-month jump, according to figures compiled by ZipRealty Inc., a real-estate brokerage firm based in Emeryville, Calif. The figures include all single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses listed on local multiple-listing services in markets where the firm operates. (See the data.)
Nationally, inventories typically decline in July as the big spring sales months give way to a more sluggish summer. Zelman & Associates, a research firm, says July listings have typically fallen by 0.8% from June over the past 28 years.
Compared to one year ago, the July inventory in the 26 markets covered by ZipRealty was up 7%.
Western markets continued to see the largest monthly increases in inventory, led by a 9.6% gain for Las Vegas, 7.9% for Orange County, Calif., and increases of 6.3% in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Markets with an increase in inventory also saw declines in list prices. Median list prices fell by 3.6% in Phoenix and San Francisco, and by 3.3% in Las Vegas, from the previous month.
“We just don’t have as many people out actively transacting,” says Pat Lashinsky, chief executive of ZipRealty. “They’re waiting, they’re looking, they’re seeing homes, but they’re not buying.”
California cities also had the largest annual increases in housing inventory: San Diego (53%), Orange County (32%), and San Francisco (28%).
Compared with the previous month, inventory fell in just two markets—Boston and Charlotte, N.C.
Many housing markets face the prospect of additional inventory as banks repossess homes through foreclosure and list them for sale. Meanwhile, housing markets that have seen steady home price recoveries may have more “pent up” sellers who have decided to test the market after sitting on the sidelines for years.
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