Inventory Nears Last Year's Level

By Dave Fratello | August 5th, 2010
The news that SFR inventory is again approaching 100 after a moderate period this year prompted us to look back at the last several months.

This graph shows inventory at month's end for each month in the past year, dating back to last August, when we were at 103. We were at 95 as of July 31.

If August 2010 looks like July 2010, with quite a few more new listings than sales, we may meet or exceed last year's end-of-Summer total in a few weeks.

Keep in mind, these data come from MBC's independent market tracking, looking at SFRs west of Sepulveda only. An MLS search may produce slightly different data, but these numbers won't vary much and are useful for spotting trends regardless. (Note: Our July 2009 spreadsheets were out of whack, so we aren't tracking inventory trends further back than Aug. 2009.)

What's the same this year? There always seems to be some growth in inventory through the Summer. (We'll look at the data for the past few years and report back.) People are on vacation, and often the only buyers with an urgency issue are those trying to lock into the school district. With classes beginning Sept. 1 this year, that demand surge – if it existed this year – may be finished.

What's different this year? Some new listings are surely coming from sellers who got the signal earlier this year that the market was more or less "back." It's a good time to sell, buyers are out there, well-priced listings are going, there are bidding wars here and there... that was the buzz in Spring, and it takes a while to translate that to putting your house up on public offer.

Looking at that graph, you see a steady decline in inventory in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2009, a period which we now know marked a turning point – the start of a rebound of sorts that carried through this year's busy Spring. (Yes, we still need to graph that as well.)

Where will economic and real estate market sentiment be heading into the Q3 and Q4 this year?

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