California Housing Inventory Skyrockets

Throughout 2012 and much of 2013 we saw the amount of available inventory plummet – a scenario which pushed many would-be buyers out of the market and encouraged bidding wars between the investors who remained. More recently though, there have been signs that the market is making a rebound, as a new study reveals that housing inventory has made its largest increase in months – a strong indicator that the market will be heating up in the second half of the year.
According to Zillow, the inventory of all for-sale homes nationwide spiked in May, jumping 11.8% year-over-year and up 4.3% from the month prior. These increases were even greater in many California regions, jumping 21.9%, 15.5%, 15.1%, 14.9%, 14.9% and 12.7% year-over-year in Riverside, San Fransisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego respectively.

Unfortunately, many of those gains in inventory were made among homes priced in the middle and top one-third of home values. The number of homes available for sale in the most affordable price bracket, those homes most sought by first-time homebuyers, fell year-over-year in 28 of the nation’s largest metro areas analyzed by Zillow.

Some regions in California have shown the opposite though, such as in San Fransisco, San Jose and Los Angeles, where for-sale inventory in the bottom tier increased year-over-year by 8.4%, 7.4% and 6% respectively.

“It’s good to see overall inventory rising. It’s likely that many would-be sellers have decided to capitalize on recent home value gains, particularly as the pace slows, and list their home for sale now in order to move into a new home while mortgage interest rates remain low,” said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries. “But persistent inventory constraints at the low end of the market continue to make it a tough environment for first-time and lower-income homebuyers.”

While the ultimate impact of these increases is still unknown, we’re certainly optimistic that this is the change needed to fire up the market throughout the upcoming months.

Have you noticed increased inventory in your region? Do you think these changes will be enough to fire up the market? What are your thoughts?

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