Another update: I’ve been using inventory numbers from HousingTracker / DeptofNumbers to track changes in inventory. Tom Lawler mentioned this back in June (Tom also discussed how the NAR estimates existing home inventory – they don’t aggregate data from local boards!)
• In a few months, the NAR is expect to release revisions for their existing home sales and inventory numbers for the last few years. The sales revisions will be down (the NAR has pre-announced this), and the inventory is expected to be revised down too.
• Using the deptofnumbers.com for monthly inventory (54 metro areas), it appears inventory will be back to late 2005 levels this month. Unfortunately the deptofnumbers only started tracking inventory in April 2006.
The first graph below shows the NAR estimate of existing home inventory through September (left axis) and the HousingTracker data for the 54 metro areas through October. The HousingTracker data shows a steeper decline in inventory over the last few years (as mentioned above, the NAR will probably revise down their inventory estimates in a few months).
The second graph shows the year-over-year change in inventory for both the NAR and HousingTracker.
HousingTracker reported that the November listings – for the 54 metro areas – declined 16.8% from the same week last year. The graph shows monthly inventory change (this is preliminary for November).
This is just “visible inventory” (inventory listed for sales). There is a large percentage of distressed inventory, and various categories of “shadow inventory” too.