Housing inventory slid to 1.89 million homes in December — down 6 percent from the previous month and 22.3 percent from the prior year, according to REALTOR.com.
Although supply ended 2011 at a four-year low, it remains to be seen whether it is a sign of a recovery — especially when considering there is a backlog of foreclosed homes that has yet to hit the market and some sellers are delaying sales until prices rise again.
Low inventories are an important ingredient for any housing recovery because prices could firm up in markets that have worked through their inventory.
In the 145 markets tracked by REALTOR.com, only Springfield, Ill., registered a year-over-year increase. Inventories plunged 49.7 percent in Miami, 49.1 percent in Phoenix, and 46.6 percent in Bakersfield, Calif.
Meanwhile, the national median price edged up 5 percent year-over-year; and asking prices climbed 32.5 in Miami, 21.7 percent in Naples, 21.5 percent in Fort Myers-Cape Coral, and 19.4 percent in Punta Gorda. However, asking prices were down 11 percent in Detroit, 10 percent in Chicago, 7.6 percent in Las Vegas, and 7 percent in Sacramento.
SOURCE: Realtor Magazine – Wall Street Journal