Inquiring minds are reading the WSJ’s article “Housing Inventory…“:
Housing inventories, which typically dip as the summer ends, rose for the ninth straight month in September, indicating that sales remain weak as the downturn drags on. (See the data.)
Listings–including single-family homes, condos and townhomes–in 26 major metro markets spiked 13.5% from a year ago, reports ZipRealty Inc., a real-estate brokerage firm based in Emeryville, Calif. When compared to a month earlier, September’s inventory rose 0.6%, data pulled from local multiple-listing services Oct. 1 shows.
In addition to sluggish sales, the increase comes from lenders dumping foreclosed homes on the market, short sale offers and sellers who can no longer put off listing a home, says Leslie Tyler, ZipRealty’s vice president of marketing.
More inventory is the last thing housing needs. Current sellers face a bleak picture: Despite record-low interest rates and falling prices, some home shoppers remain fearful of signing contracts as unemployment remains elevated. Those ready to buy may think that prices will fall further, providing little incentive to act quickly. Given tightened lending restrictions, others want to buy but cannot. Some sellers, meanwhile, can’t trim prices any further without selling for less than they owe. And the foreclosure crisis continues–and some banks have halted foreclosures, further gumming up the works.
And what about California?
According to ZipRealty, the biggest inventory gains came in California, where little inventory was available last year because sellers were unwilling to accept low prices, Ms. Tyler said. San Diego surged 68.2% from a year ago, while the San Francisco Bay area saw a 51.5% jump. Los Angeles’ inventory spiked 36.9%.
“The people who were putting their homes on the market in 2009 were people who had to move,” Ms. Tyler said. “Now what’s happening is sellers are adjusting” to the new price reality.
And then Nevada and Arizona:
The number of listings also rose in the nation’s most notorious boom-to-bust markets: Las Vegas (up 33.6%) and Phoenix (up 24.7%).
And data shows that foreclosures in California will continue into the beginning of 2012.
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