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Inventory Climbs Meaningfully for the First Time in Almost Four Years

  • The number of homes for sale in October rose 3 percent, the first year-over-year gain of more than 1 percent since December 2014.
  • The boost comes nowhere near making up for years of inventory declines: The number of homes for sale in October was 1.62 million, down from 1.96 million in late 2014.
  • The country’s median rent continued its slide, dropping 0.1 percent, or one dollar, in October to $1,442 a month from $1,443 last October.

Prospective home buyers can give thanks this season for a rare increase in inventory: The number of homes for sale in October rose 3 percent, the first year-over-year gain of more than 1 percent since December 2014.

The boost comes nowhere near making up for years of inventory declines. In fact, the number of homes for sale in December 2014, after a 1.5 percent year-over-year climb, was 1.96 million. Following October’s 3 percent increase, the number of homes for sale was just 1.62 million.

The major metro with the greatest increase in inventory was San Jose, Calif., where inventory climbed 93.1 percent. San Diego was next, at 43.5 percent, followed by San Francisco at 41.6 percent. The largest decreases were in Las Vegas (down 15.9 percent), Pittsburgh (down 10 percent) and Virginia Beach (down 9.4 percent).

Inventory of homes valued in the bottom third nationally has been low and is starting to rise, gaining 6.8 percent annually in October. That was up from a 3.7 percent year-over-year hike in September and a small 0.6 percent boost in August. Before that, the last time inventory among lower valued homes posted an increase was in September 2014.

Meanwhile, the inventory of homes in the top tier nationally has been steadily high and is now falling – by 1.6 percent in October from a year earlier.

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