Things Are Tight All Over

By Dave Fratello | April 9th, 2012
The usual course of the Spring "selling season" is that inventory begins to flow at the Super Bowl, and by April and May buyers have plenty of choices.

This year, we are not yet seeing that pattern bear out. There are now fewer homes on offer in Manhattan Beach than in mid-February.

In February, there were 93 properties of all types available in MB – including SFRs, condos and THs. As of late Sunday, just 80 listings were active. (Click this or any chart to enlarge.)

Yes, Easter and Spring Break may have held back inventory some. We'll find out soon enough. But this is a dramatic ebb at a time when buyers expect more choices, not a baker's dozen fewer.

Did you notice that pending sales were up? That's an uptick of 7 to 79 from the same point in mid-February. Given that good listings that do come out tend to go pretty quickly, that's no huge surprise. But a drop in one and a rise in the other does give you an overall sense of how tight the market is.

We've found the same surprising Springtime pattern in the vast markets of Torrance and PV. Hermosa Beach has just one more property on offer than in mid-February.

So, again, this is a South-Bay-wide phenomenon. (We noted a few days ago that South Bay inventory is down 33% from the same time last year.)

We looked at the active-to-pending ratio back in February for these same markets. (See "Quite a Ratio.")

Back then – all of 7 weeks ago – every South Bay market had more active listings than pending listings.

Now, just 2 of these 4 do.

MB is flat, an almost pure 1:1 ratio of actives to pending sales.

Torrance has gone negative. With 208 pending sales and 162 active listings, the ratio is 0.8 to 1

We thought things were tight in MB in February when the ratio was 1.3:1. Now, Hermosa and PV have come down to the 1.4:1 level, whereas both were at or over 2:1 back in our last report.

For the sake of buyers looking for new options – some of whom are our clients – here's hoping that this is about the most extreme that we see the ebb in inventory this year.

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