Dwindling inventory could bring cooler markets in 2020

by Candyd Mendoza11 Jul 2019

Declining US housing inventory could cool down markets nationwide in 2020 – favoring sellers over buyers.

Realtor.com’s Monthly Housing Trend report for July 2019 warned buyers to expect bidding wars, higher price appreciation and faster home sales in just a few months if the number of homes for sale drop.

Due to the mismatch of what homes are available and what buyers want, the US median listing price in June has hit $316,000 –most likely its highest point for the year. Housing inventory also increased by 2.8% or 40,000 more listings annually across the US, down from 2.9% in May.

Inventory gains first slowed down when January’s 6.4% growth slackened to 5.8% in February. The weakening pace continued with 4.4% in March and April, dipping to 2.9% in May before inching down to 2.8% in June. The report projected that inventory growth will level out over the next three months, and inventory could experience its first fall in October.

"It was only 18 months ago that the number of homes for sale hit its lowest level in recorded history and sparked the fiercest competition among buyers we've ever seen. If the trend we're seeing continues, overall inventory could near record lows by early next year," said realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "So far there's been a lackluster response to low mortgage rates, but if they do spark fresh buyer interest later in the year, US inventory could set new record lows."