The local housing market is on the cusp of the prime home buying and selling season with a historic shortage of homes on the market and some push and shove over the inventory outlook. Inventory has been steadily declining since 2013 when the market began shifting toward a sellers’ advantage.
Sales hit an annual peak of 12.8% in 2016, and the active inventory trend went negative. Inventory continued arching lower at a 2.7% to 3.7% annual rate until last year. That’s when the active inventory declined 9.4%, while home sales increased by 8.4%. At the end of January, there were fewer listings than REALTORS® on NETAR’s membership roll.
It’s projected that won’t change much through at least the first half of the year. A little relief is possible because more consumers think it’s a good time to sell. Many of those interviewed for Fannie Mae’s Home Price Sentiment Index cited low mortgage rates, high home prices, and low housing inventory. They also think home prices will increase this year. And 75% were not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months. At the same time, other owners and higher-income groups were more reserved. That suggests they are waiting to gauge the new fiscal policies and vaccination distribution on both housing and the larger economy.