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Inventory Growth Points to Cooler Spring Market

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 27, 2019 -- Realtor.com's February housing report released today, shows 2019 may have one of the coolest spring homebuying seasons in recent years as growing inventories drive price cuts. This marks a significant reversal from a year ago when the housing market struggled with 41 straight months of inventory declines.

In February, the median list price increased seven percent year-over-year, to $294,800. Approximately 73,000 additional listings are for-sale this year versus last year, increasing national inventory by 6 percent year-over-year. Much of this available inventory can be traced to the nation's 50 largest metros, where inventory increased by 11 percent year-over-year. The largest jumps have continued on the West Coast, led by San Jose, Calif., with a massive 125 percent increase. This was followed by an 85 percent increase in Seattle, 53 percent increase in San Francisco, 39 percent increase in San Diego, and 36 percent increase in Portland, Ore.

"This is the fifth consecutive month that we've seen housing inventory increase, especially in large markets," said Danielle Hale, realtor.com®'s chief economist. "As is often the case in real estate, the important trends are going on at the local level. We see large markets continue to cool, but some markets still have some strength. Additionally, we still see fewer homes priced under $200,000 on the market, so entry-level buyers won't see the same availability of options as high-end buyers."

A recent rise in the share of price cuts also hints towards a potential shift into a cooler market for spring. In February, 39 of the 50 largest markets saw an increase in share of price cuts. The greatest yearly increase was felt in Las Vegas, which jumped 19 percent. It was followed by San Jose, Calif., with a nine percent increase, Phoenix with a seven percent increase, San Francisco with a five percent increase, and Dallas with a four percent increase.

In February, the number of U.S. homes priced at or above $750,000, more than double the national median, increased by 11 percent year-over-year. The surge in high end inventory is likely to favor buyers this spring, as they will have more options to choose from. But the same can't be said for the entry-level market where the national inventory of homes priced at $200,000 or below has decreased seven percent year-over-year, indicating that availability of affordable homes will remain an issue for many potential buyers.

More inventory means more options for buyers, which has slowly pumped the brakes on a historically speedy market. On average in the 50 largest metros, homes are spending three days longer on the market than last year. For the first time since realtor.com® began tracking this data in 2013, the share of homes selling faster than 30 days decreased, from 28 percent last year to 27 percent this February. The West Coast, which saw the largest inventory increases in February, also saw the greatest increase in days on market. Homes in Seattle, which led the nation, spent an additional 20 days on market compared to last year. It was followed by Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. with 15 days and Sacramento, Calif. with 13 days.

New market level months supply data, which looks at the balance of available inventory against the current sales pace, confirms that while the market is generally cooling, it still remains a sellers' market in many areas.

Markets with the Largest Inventory Increases

rdc Inventory Growth Points to Cooler Spring Market

About realtor.com®

Realtor.com®, The Home of Home Search, offers an extensive inventory of for-sale and rental listings, and access to information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. It pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today is the trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers by making all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.comrealtor.com.

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