Where the Inventory Is (by Price)

By Dave Fratello | September 25th, 2019

One of the most common observations about the market this year that you will hear is that "things are a bit slow at the high end."

That's something you hear across the state, and specifically within the Manhattan Beach market.

We've posted about it here before. But we're also largely failing to find drastic evidence of a glut at the "higher end."

One way to look at this now is to compare the status of inventory this year with prior years.

Let's start by looking at 2019 versus 2018.

As of Sept. 15, as you can see here in our first chart, about 40% of active inventory was priced over $3.5M.

Meantime, nearly 1/3rd of inventory is in the narrower price range of $2.5-$3.5M.

So how did things stand at this point last year?

Things are different this year than last.

On a percentage basis, the higher end was much more crowded last year. Last year!

Close to half of inventory (47%) as of Sept. 15, 2018, was priced above $3.5M.

So the overall share of inventory lingering at the higher end has dropped year-over-year by 7% here in 2019.

The data show us that one of the busier segments of the market, $2.5M-$3.5M, has seen inventory rise 60% from one-fifth of the market to one-third in 2019.

That's all a bit surprising.

We thought that a comparison by percentage shares was the most relevant way to capture any trends.

If your question is something like: How's the high end doing this year compared to last year?, then percentage shares would be one way to make that judgment.

However, in raw numbers, there are slightly more actual listings priced above $3.5M this year, 50 versus 47 last year.

And in raw numbers, inventory in the $2.5M-$3.5M tier has doubled year-over-year, from 20 in 2018 to 40 in 2019. (That's more than a 60% rise, obviously.)

We can take a fuller look at inventory by price range in this new chart.

Here you can see very similar numbers of active listings on the market in each of the past 3-4 years at the higher end.

In the $2.5-$3.5M range, this year's 40 actives compares favorably against 2017 and is tied with 2016.

The first reason we crunched these numbers was to see whether it's true that the market this year is suffering from some kind of unusual sluggishness at the high end.

On an inventory basis, that's not at all clear.

Pending sales?

Closed sales?

Let's look at those data soon, and separately.


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