From Zillow:  The inventory of lower-priced homes for sale, which are commonly sought by first-time homebuyers, has dropped by more than 40 percent in California over the past year, according to a new Zillow analysis, which tracks changes in the number of homes listed for sale on Zillow across the country as of Sept. 30, 2012 and compares inventory changes in the bottom, middle and upper tiers of home prices.

“First-time homebuyers are being squeezed out of the market by falling inventory and the rapid influx of investors looking to buy basic homes to rent out to the growing population of people who have recently been foreclosed upon,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist. “Investors are paying in cash and can close sooner, which is more favorable to banks and homeowners looking to sell.”

Nationally, inventory rates have dropped by one-fifth (-19.4 percent) across all homes with inventory declining the most in higher-priced homes (-22 percent).

In the largest 30 metro areas, inventory across all tiers has fallen the most in the Sacramento (-42.4 percent), San Francisco, (-42.4 percent) and San Diego (-40.7 percent) metros; and has fallen the least in the Cincinnati (-9.5 percent), Portland, Ore. (-10.8 percent) and St. Louis, Mo. (-14.5 percent) areas.



While these percentages seem shocking, this isn’t bad news – it’s a sign of an active, productive marketplace. There has been a similar supply of homes for sale, they are just selling faster.  The overall counts look fairly subtle too:

Total Number of MLS Listings, Jan 1st to Oct. 15th

2011 – 57,800

2012 – 52,300  -10%

Total Number of Det. & Att. Listings Sold, Jan 1st to Oct. 15th

2011 – 25,994

2012 – 28,847  +11%

Housing Tracker shows that the active inventory is at all-time lows – but they include the contingents:

Compare these counts for San Diego County, and how things have changed since early 2009 when the market first started to pick up:

SD County Det. & Att Actives Cont & Pend Ratio
Sept. 2008
Oct. 2009
Oct. 2012

What a difference since 2008! Plus we saw that half of the listings are going contingent/pending within the first 2-4 weeks too. It’s a hyper-fast, efficient market, if you can just get the price right.

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