Inventory levels of for-sale homes at the end of 2012 were down 17.3 percent from year-ago levels, reaching the lowest level in more than five years, Realtor.com reports. In some areas, inventories have dropped 68 percent over the year.
“It’s been a buyers’ market for a while. Sellers have been reluctant to put their homes on the market,” says Steve Berkowitz, chief executive of Move Inc., which operates Realtor.com. As housing numbers roll out for January and February in the coming weeks, these will be notable to watch because they’ll provide early clues about buyer traffic and sellers’ expectations, Berkowitz says.
For-sale inventories dropped the most year-over-year in December 2012 in the following metros:
- Sacramento, Calif.: -68%
- Stockton-Lodi, Calif.: -65%
- Oakland, Calif.: -64%
- San Jose, Calif.: -52%
- Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.: -45%
- San Francisco: -43%
- Ventura, Calif.: -43%
- Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.: -41%
- Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.: -40%
- Orange County, Calif.: -39%