“Inventory” in housing means homes listed for sale. Then there’s the shadow inventory – vacant homes that owners want to sell eventually because they have already moved into a new place but want to ride up the surge in home prices all the way, and then at the tippy-top, they’ll sell it to maximize their profits.
We have seen this during the past 18 months when home prices spiked: people bought a home and moved in, and they moved out their other home, but didn’t sell it, expecting a 10% or 20% or 30% gain in price on a leveraged bet with a much bigger gain on equity. The math makes sense, though it doesn’t always work out, and now it’s starting to be time to put those vacant homes on the market, and here they come, just as home sales are dropping because layers and layers of buyers have been removed from the market by the rising mortgage rates and sky-high prices.
Active listings jumped. In May, inventory of homes actively listed for sale jumped by 26% from April and are suddenly up by 8% from a year ago, the first year-over-year increase since June 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors today. There were about 38,000 more homes listed for sale in May than a year ago (data via realtor.com):Suddenly Here Comes the Inventory: Homes Listed for Sale Jump amid Price Reductions and Sagging Sales | Wolf Street