New Listings Hit a Six-Year High for Month of May

Let’s take a closer look at how listings fared in May of this year compared to years past.

First up, here’s a look at how many new listings hit the market in May, comparing May 2014 to May in every year I’ve got data for.

Total New Listings: February 2000-2014

New listings hit a six-year high for the month of May this year. Good news for buyers, but still well below the pre-bust levels.

Here’s a view of how inventory has grown so far this year:

On-Market Inventory Growth: 2000-2013

Compared to last December, the growth of on-market inventory fairly respectable, but considering how close December was to an all-time low for inventory, that isn’t really saying much.

Here’s a look at the raw number of homes added to the market in just the last three months, compared to the same period in other years:

Total New Listings: March - May 2000-2014

Not as high as 2010, but better than 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2009. Not bad overall. For whatever reason this year it seems like inventory has really started to pick up later than in previous years. I expect this three-month view will improve quite a bit over the next few months.

The next chart shows the difference between the number of new listings each month and the number of pending sales. Prior to late 2011 this number was almost always positive, except in December, when very few new listings hit the market. From October 2011 through March 2013 this measure was negative, indicating very tight inventory.

New Listings Less Pending Sales 2000-Present

This measure shot up in May, hitting its highest point since mid-2011. The direction and magnitude of the change is great news for buyers, but we’re still at a very low level overall, which means we’re still definitely in a seller’s market… for now.

Finally, let’s take a look at the “stale listings” measure, which uses the total listings, new listings, and pending sales counts to estimate how many listings are “carried over” from one month to the next.

Stale Listings 2000-Present

The number of stale listings has slowly declined every month this year, indicating that most new listings are being snatched up fairly quickly after hitting the market. Last year June was the month we saw this start to shoot back up.

Overall the picture is not much different than what we saw in the first few months of the year. The market is shifting back toward buyers, but very slowly. The rate of change accelerated just slightly in May, but we’ve still got a long ways to go before we get to a balanced market with a more normal level of supply.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1

    Many Sellers Can’t Afford to Sell, Even Now

    The good news about a stagnant labor market in the Seattle area….this stagnates the rentors’ pool too. Eventually the units end up on the market, even in poor condition. Its sure a conundrum real estate market around here.

    My daughter reported to me on Kansas City….they stage homes in her neighborhood [fix ’em up for selling] and the next door house to her is selling for $40K [she says it looks nice]. I’ll check it out this 4th of July when I’m down there visiting. Gosh 1/10th Seattle prices….LOL….$15/hr there is like $150/hr here. There’s jobs there too, not many, but a telework job for $9/hr and 40 hrs a week they grabbed up isn’t bad pay down there, in comparison to Seattle.

  2. 2
    whatsmyname says:

    “New Listings Hit a Six year High in May”
    Of course, total listings only hit fifth highest of six years in May.

    I guess You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    And don’t mess with mister in-between

    The Samcooke Bubble

  3. 3
    Blake says:

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out in Seattle… as Wolf writes below: “all real estate is local”… but nationally wages are stagnant and most people are not in great shape financially.
    -snip- “And this inventory isn’t selling: in the 30 markets, sales in May plunged 10% from a year ago. Now that homes are coming on the market in large numbers, buyers, faced with sky-high prices and higher mortgage rates, went on strike.”

    “In some of the hottest markets of 2012 and 2013, sales are falling off a cliff: down 11.6% in Las Vegas, 12.2% in Chicago, 12.3% in Seattle, Orange County, and Los Angeles, down 12.5% in Washington, DC, 13.1% in Long Island, 13.5% in San Francisco, 14.6% in Sacramento, 20% in Phoenix, and down 20.8% in San Diego. These are ugly numbers.

    But, but, but… the median sales price still rose 8.2% in May from a year ago, though that’s down from the 14.5% increase in May 2013, and from the 20% at the peak of 2012. Redfin reported that its agents had observed “the shift away from a sellers’ market, with buyers having more power and less competition.” But apparently, “many sellers still haven’t read the memo.”

  4. 4

    RE: Blake @ 3

    There’s a Limit to Old Money Too Blake

    Ya know, the money ya got with the golden spoon in your hand from multi-generations [must be nice to not work for a living] before you. Even this source runs out and the coastal high priced markets you mentioned really depend on those lemmings to line up with their cash bags to buy. Nothing lasts forever without a good manufacturing base in your country. No wonder these folks are ussually mis-labled “liberals” too and tend to see insourcing and outsourcing all the good jobs from the legal American voters/taxpayers as a good thing, they simply have no “worker” skin in the game….

  5. 5
    s says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1 – uh, i think there are reasons for that.

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