The Best ‘Toldja So’ News!

Inman is out this morning with an analysis of housing trend stats compiled by Realtor.com.  Not only is the news good, it bolsters something I talked about in November and December of last year:  the very real possibility of a housing shortage.  Really:  we have pent up demand, fence sitters becoming motivated, great rates, some relaxing in lending (well . . . some), and almost no new construction in five years.  Put it all in can, shake it up and you get:  low inventory and high demand – a recipe for rising prices.

In a dramatic chart, Inman points out that, across America,  inventories last month were down 21.48% over what they were a year ago.  And the 2011 figure was 9% lower than 2010! That’s a 30%+ reduction in two years.  Also, the median age of inventory – the number of days on market – was down almost 20%, 2012 vs. 2011:  things are selling 20% faster than they were a year ago.

The stats are nice, but you’ve been telling me this for months.  When asked how bad things are (by those wonderfully positive attitudes in my life), I always say the same thing:  anything salable has multiple offers.  What are you waiting for?

A good friend in Atlanta just sold her house for top dollar in a week.  Of course, she worked like a mule for 3 weeks getting ready to sell, including paying a professional stager about $250 for a 3 hour consultation.  She says that was some of the best money she ever spent, that the advice is what gave her the edge.  (Help-U-Sell brokers, are you ready to dust off those advertising banners we used so liberally a few years ago? Sold in 16 days, Seller saved $6,346!)

Inman goes on to present the ten markets with the biggest drop in inventory over the past year.  Some of the biggest drops were in areas where the housing crisis has hit hardest:  Arizona, Florida, and California.  Of course, some of that might be attributable to that mysterious ‘shaddow inventory’ I keep hearing about:  the large number of foreclosures being held back by lenders today.  Somebody tell me:  is this for real?  Or is it just more gloomy cocktail party babble?

So, here, according to Realtor.com and analyzed by Inman, are the top ten markets with the largest drop in inventory, March 2012 over March 2011:

10.  Portland, Or/Vancouver, Wa

Inventories down  38.79%            Median Price $249,900

9.  Orlando, FL

Inventories down  39%                  Median Price $155,000

8.  Atlanta, GA

Inventories down  39.26%           Median Price $159,900

7.  Seattle – Everett – Bellevue, WA

Inventories down  39.38%           Median Price $314,900

6.  Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Inventories down  $39.66%       Median Price $168,000

5.  Miami, Fl

Inventories down  $42.34%       Median Price $269,000

4.  Fresno, CA

Inventories down  45.56%         Median Price $159,900

3.  Phoenix, AZ

Inventories down 48%                Median Price $179,000

2.  Bakersfield, CA

Inventories down 50.35%         Median Price $139,900

1.  Oakland, CA

Inventories down 51.91%          Median Price $336.120

What are the stats in your area?  Share them here, I’d love to know!

And, by the way, if it hasn’t occurred to you already, NOW IS THE TIME TO BUILD INVENTORIES!  One of the great truths of our industry is that the company/office/broker who has inventory has all the business he/she/it can handle.  Go get it.