Inventory Booming – Now Double Last Year's

By Dave Fratello | February 26th, 2016


You can say a lot with one chart. So there, we said it.

Now for more words.

At this time of year in 2015, there were 42 homes on the market.

Today, there are 83, effectively double last year's inventory.

2014? There were just 33 homes for sale in Manhattan Beach. In 2013, there were 45.

Our new chart here shows green, green 2016 starting in a different place than recent years, and shooting upward, inventory building consistently. The way this year sticks out, it's almost like we're graphing a totally new category of data. 

But no. Each twice-monthly data point spanning more than 3 years here comes from from the MLS, from publicly posted Manhattan Beach Market Updates right here on MBC.

It's 2016 that's different, not the type of data.

A trend like this has been taking shape since Summer 2015. (See "Inventory Higher in 2015; Prices, Too.") Today, at 83 listings, we're at a new high for the entire 3-plus years recorded in this chart.

Working with buyers – as we do a great deal here – this is the time of year that we always look forward to. After the Super Bowl, and especially after Ski Week, inventory starts to come out. Buyers finally have options.

The October-January period can seem so bleak, with so few good options for buyers wanting to make their move. Then our "real estate Spring" breaks out, and with it comes hope.

For the first time in however-long-it-is-now, there's actually a surplus of homes in a couple of market categories: Sand Section townhomes and nice Tree Section family homes.

Well, let's be more precise with our terms. It's not a true surplus if the market can absorb them all efficiently.

So that's the challenge now. There are more buyers active now, just as there are more homes available. It's the seasonal cycle we've all been through plenty of times.

Will buyers be able to leverage their feelings of choice into getting better deals among the available homes?

There are still plenty of indicators that this is a seller's market and that prices continue to rise to new heights. (See, for example, "Bullish Start to 2016.")

But a ballooning inventory trend is not a seller's friend.


Data note: The snapshot of 83 listings active in MB was taken late morning 2/26/16, not the last day of the month. All other data points in the chart come from the middle or end of a month. The figure may be different on 2/29.

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