Seller’s market

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It’s a Desert Out There for Homebuyers

The housing market continues to show extraordinary signs of recovery, both in pricing and sales volume. That bodes well for the economy and consumer sentiment going forward.

Real estate site Movoto just crunched numbers for its monthly housing report, and there is a host of impressive data points:

  • Total inventory declined about 21% year-over-year across 38 major cities.
  • With fewer homes on the market, the list price per square foot increased by 11.5% year-over-year.
  • California cities crushed by the downturn are rapidly recovering, with a massive 80% decline in Oakland’s inventory and an 70% decline in Sacramento inventory.

This is all great for real estate prices. However, Movoto admits that “2013 isn’t shaping up to be a particularly strong year for homebuyers so far” as a scarcity of homes is creating headaches for would-be buyers even if the lack of supply helps increase values.

Movoto points out that the number of homes on the market has plummeted dramatically, down 51.5% from 2011 and down 35.4% from 2010.

Here’s a great rundown on inventory by city, courtesy of Movoto.

realestateinventory

Anecdotally, I know a few of people in both the metro DC and New York areas who are driving themselves crazy looking for houses. In these areas, you simply can’t afford to be patient or choosy because good properties are sold within a matter of days.

There is admittedly a much different situation going on elsewhere in America, particularly in rural regions hit hard by unemployment. But in urban areas that Movoto tracks, it’s clearly a seller’s market right now.

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Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at editor@investorplace.com or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP.

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