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Housing inventory rises—but not enough to make homes more affordable

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New Trulia report show slight inventory relief nationwide, but no signs of an overall drop in U.S. home prices

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According to a new housing inventory report from Trulia, many homeowners have clearly heard the message that this is a sellers’ market. The real estate site found that nationwide inventory jumped 12.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018, perhaps offering some relief to buyers trying to find a home in what’s been called the most competitive market in history.

Many of the most expensive markets in the country saw slight year-over-year gains in inventory. Both New York City and Los Angeles saw more properties for sale, with supply growing 1 and 2.9 percent, respectively. Of the nation’s 100 largest metros, 30 saw inventory increases. In some cases, the growth compared to 2017 was substantial, especially in Sunbelt and southwestern cities with rising populations. Nashville posted a 52 percent surge, Salt Lake City saw 48.6 percent more inventory, and both Dallas and Fort Worth saw the number of homes on sale increase by more than 30 percent.

The quarter-over-quarter increase in available homes is only a slight bump in a long trend toward tighter and tighter inventory. The number of homes on sale is still down 5.3 percent from Q2 2017, and the new figures represent the first gain after a year of double-digit quarterly decreases in inventory.

While this increase may give desperate buyers a few more options, it hasn’t made much of a dent in the relentless upward march in home prices, especially in some of the nation’s most expensive housing markets. The Trulia report found home prices were up 4.8 percent since last quarter, and up 5.8 percent year-over-year. It’ll take more than one quarter of slight progress to make a dent in the nation’s affordability crisis.

Inventory gains don’t mean affordability gains

Metro Q2 2018 Inventory Year-over-year change Q2 2018 Price Year-over-year change
Metro Q2 2018 Inventory Year-over-year change Q2 2018 Price Year-over-year change
San Francisco, CA 1,077 -0.80% $1,330,390 9.00%
New York, NY 44,800 1.10% $715,454 3.90%
Los Angeles, CA 11,269 2.90% $659,000 4.60%
Miami, FL 19,528 3.10% $398,900 3.60%
San Jose, CA 1,322 -3.80% $1,099,000 22.20%
Anaheim, CA 5,572 0.40% $799,000 5.30%
San Diego, CA 5,911 22.10% $649,833 8.50%
Ventura, CA 1,537 13.30% $649,950 0.50%
Oakland, CA 2,401 -3.70% $719,426 5.10%
Boston, MA 4,045 0.00% $558,429 5.90%
Price is based on the median listing price of every active listing throughout the month. Trulia