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Is Inventory Relief on the Way?

Housing InventoryThe upcoming summer home buying season might just provide the respite that many first-time buyers have been waiting for—more homes being listed for sale. According to the May monthly housing trends report released by Realtor.com [1] on Wednesday, inventory declines are starting to lose momentum as more and more listings come to the market.

The report [2] noted that even though home prices [3] hit an all-time high of $297,000, they sold faster than ever in May, within 55 days of being listed. However, the report noted that the market was seeing signs of deceleration, part of which could be attributed to 557,000 new listings hitting the market in May. This was the highest number of listings in a single month since June 2015, Realtor.com said.

In terms of numbers, the data showed inventory declined 6 percent year over year in May and increased by the same percentage when compared to April 2018. Median listing prices grew 8 percent year over year for the third consecutive month and were below February’s high of 10 percent.

“We’re in the thick of the hottest home buying season of all time,” said Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at Realtor.com. “The pace of U.S. home sales has officially reached a seasonal and historical high, but we’re also beginning to see slight signs of deceleration.”

When it came to inventory declines, Javier said that while the new listings provided a ray of hope for homebuyers, the total listings volume still remained highly dependent on new construction “much of which is still out of the price range of first time buyers—the largest segment of buyers.”

“Even as inventory recovers, the mix of what’s available versus what shoppers are looking for could become an even more pronounced mismatch,” Vivas said. “Unfortunately for buyers, median list prices continue to show strong yearly growth and fail to hint that home values will stall any time soon.”