Inventory Growth Continues at a Snail’s Pace

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

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

Total New Listings: July 2000-2014

New listings maintained the “six-year high” level they set back in May, but are still a bit below typical 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 so far in 2014 is very slightly smaller than last year, but about as good as any year outside of 2007 when everyone was rushing for the exits.

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

Pretty similar picture to the view of July alone. Better than 2009-2013, but not as good as any other year on record.

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 hit its highest point since July 2011, and has increased fairly dramatically this year. That said, as with all of the other listings metrics, we’re still well below the levels last seen in a normal market.

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 hit its highest point of the year in July, and even hit a higher point than July 2013.

We’re still in a market of very tight inventory. However, the direction most of these measures are trending should be at least a little encouraging to buyers hoping for more selection. Unfortunately for buyers, inventory growth is still moving at a snail’s pace.

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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
    Erik says:

    Wooohooo!!!!! 5 new comments!!!!!

    Firstly I noticed that Tim did not show a linear graph comparing 2013 to 2014. Why did he show bar graphs with specific data such as “Total New Listings” and “May-July Listings”? Because if he showed the regular linear plot, it would be on top of the old 2013 plot. I have said multiple times that there are hungry buyers that will eat up the new inventory as fast as new inventory is put out there. It wasn’t that hard… all the agents on here were talking about multiple offers. I got 5 offers of asking price or better in 5 days when I sold December 2013.

    Tim drew a hypothetical line and plotted his hypothetical line vs actual values, but I guess we aren’t calling that a prediction because he didn’t say “Here is my prediction…” The point is, the whole time he drew the hypothetical line and plotted actual values against it, I said no way. There is no way people are getting 5 offers and a good home will not be gobbled up by the 4 losing offers. The hypothetical line that was in no way a prediction failed because it did not take into account the demand for homes from the losing bidders.

    I will give you a prediction… you may want to read carefully. In 2015, year/year housing inventory will increase. In 2015, the stock market will likely go down or remain flat since Mr. Shiller’s CAPE ratio has only been higher in 1929, 2000, and 2007. Housing prices will increase slowly except in the liveable areas that still haven’t gone up such as West Seattle, parts of south Seattle, and nicer rural areas.

  2. 2

    RE: Erik @ 1
    You Ended With Nicer Rural Areas Going Down?

    Does that mean the areas where prices go up aren’t as nice? I invest in stocks and can tell you, all the dire stock market predictions were wrong the last 7 years. Predicting stocks and even mitigated mortgage interest rates hikes getting more tapered in 2015 is a wild guess IMO. We’ll know when the fat lady sings.

  3. 3

    Okay, I realize the topic is inventory growth, but it would be nice to have a graph of active inventory levels over time. As it is it’s sort of like having a car that has a meter showing acceleration and deceleration (an accelometer???), but no speedometer.

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