USA

USA Update

A well respected, internationally known newspaper’s blog has just run the headline

Housing Inventories Fall to New Four-Year Low in October

The supporting article states;

‘The 2.12 million homes listed for sale in October was down by 3.5% from September and down by 21% from one year ago, according to data compiled by Realtor.com’ The Realtor.com figures include sale listings from more than 900 multiple-listing services across the country. They don’t include all homes for sale, including those that are “for sale by owner” and other properties that aren’t marketed through multiple-listing services.

Inventories typically rise by around 0.8% in October from September, according to Zelman & Associates, a research firm. But they have been falling for several months amid a slowdown in foreclosures by banks and as home sellers, frustrated by low-ball offers, hold their properties from the market.

The National Association of Realtors also reported a decline in the number of homes on the market. At the end of October, total housing inventory fell 2.2% to 3.33 million homes, the lowest level of the year.’

You would assume from this for this that the over supply of unsold homes in the US is showing signs of dissipating. However, as several commentators to the blog commented;

• Take NAR’s figures with a grain of salt…and a beer and aspirin
• Is anyone counting the number of homes “FOR SALE BY OWNER”? Does this include homes taken off the market after long-term rides on the home selling merry-go-round?
• Does this include homes taken off the market after long-term rides on the home selling merry-go-round?
• And now, the rest of the story: the numbers of buyers also fell to its lowest level in four years. And that’s why prices keep falling. 9% unemployment will do that.
• Article doesn’t mention shadow inventory still on banks books

Agents and optimists (usually the same thing) will jump on any piece of good news that encourages people to buy. The fact is, there is little if any real evidence to support the fact the market has bottomed out. Nevertheless, if we are not there yet it is a reasonable bet we are not far off.