Inventory Swell Begins

Posted by Dave Fratello on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 at 6:42pm.

The week of the Super Bowl is typically one of the more interesting – or dare we say exciting? – for real estate watchers. This is when sellers are ready to start unveiling their offerings for some of the busier months of RE sales – the "Spring" period, roughly defined as February through May.

If you check in on Redfin's MB page regularly, or however you get your market updates, you've already seen the evidence of more and more choices coming out.

Here were are on the morning of January 31, with some time still for more new listings to come out today, and we're already just above last year's level for the month of January with 46 new listings for the month.

That 46 figure does include both SFRs and THs and covers the entirety of MB. Also, it includes 7 listings that had a significant history in 2011 but were "re-listed" for one reason or another. So call it 39 "real" new listings.

How does January compare so far? Why, we've got a chart for that.

As we noted, 2012 is on pace with 2011 with an identical number of new listings. (We have not adjusted the figures for any year in this chart, because it's not possible retroactively to wipe out bogus re-lists.)

In the past 5 years, the peak was 2009 with 62 new offerings in January, though that turned out not to be a good year for sales till the 4th quarter. Both 2008 and 2010 were very close, at 61 and 58, respectively.

It's funny that, by this measure, 2011 seems to reflect a more conservative attitude by sellers – with significantly fewer diving in. As it happens, a lot of buyers found inventory to be tight last year, with few choices generally and few quality choices at several price points. In that sense, January almost foretold one of the stories of the full year.

We'll update this post after Jan. 31 finishes up, and we'll look at the whole of Spring from the past few years after we get deeper into 2012.
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