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Home Inventory in U.S. at Historically Low Levels

Home Inventory in U.S. at Historically Low Levels

New data from Black Knight’s Collateral Analytics shows that the available inventory of single-family homes for sale across the U.S. is at a historically low level. This data reveals that spikes in housing inventory typically seen during spring and summer months have fallen somewhat flat in 2020, when compared to previous years.

Quarterly data for seven geographically diverse markets was analyzed, dating back to 2007, to chart the number of single-family home listings — as seen in the graphic below. In these markets, as is consistent with markets across the country, available inventory traditionally experiences seasonal peaks during spring and summer, and reductions during fall and winter.

However, 2020 has thus far shown to be an outlier, with markets not experiencing the expected rise in inventory.

While other areas of the national economy are struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19, low housing inventory levels could act to cushion the housing industry from meaningful price declines. And while record unemployment rates potentially threaten overall home sales, demand has remained consistent thanks in part to low interest rates. Though it should be noted, the ever-evolving landscape of the pandemic could see these factors shift.

Collateral Analytics also leveraged data from its Daily Home Price Flash to dive deeper into single-family home inventory since the start of 2020, in Las Vegas and Phoenix. This data shows sharp declines in daily new listings staring in mid-March due to business restrictions and social distancing guidelines put in place at the start of the pandemic.

Some markets, such as Las Vegas, have begun to see an uptick in daily inventory since these dramatic drops in the spring. However, when analyzed year-over-year, this increase — as of now — still falls short of the bell curve traditionally experienced during the spring and summer months.

New listings per day in Phoenix.

Still, Las Vegas has outperformed other markets, such as Phoenix, which has seen daily inventory remain at near-steady levels since dropping in late March. Although the spring/summer upswing is typically not as dramatic in Phoenix as other markets, its failure to show any substantial growth in daily new listings is noteworthy.

New listings per day in Las Vegas.

The impacts of COVID-19 will almost certainly be felt in the housing market for quite some time, and its impact on long-term inventory trends is just one of the many areas Black Knight and Collateral Analytics will continue to monitor daily.

Black Knight’s Collateral Analytics will provide bimonthly snapshots of home sales and price information for major U.S. markets via this blog.