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Not enough homes for sale?

By Polyana da Costa ·
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

Fewer buyers signed contracts to buy homes in June. Will that dampen the optimism of those celebrating the housing rebound? Not yet.

The National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index slipped 1.4 percent to 99.3 in June. But it wasn't because of a lack of buyers, says NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun. It was because there weren't enough homes for sale on the market. I know this notion probably feels like a slap in the face to home sellers across the country, especially those who have been trying to sell their homes for months.

But when buyers have fewer options, there are fewer deals, NAR says.

"Buyer interest remains strong but fewer home listings mean fewer contract signing opportunities," Yun says. "We’ve been seeing a steady decline in the level of housing inventory, which is most pronounced in the lower price ranges popular with first-time buyers and investors."

Even though pending sales slowed in June, the situation is much better than last year. June marks 14 consecutive months of year-over-year gains for the monthly index.

And since real estate is local, here is how each region fared:

June pending home sales index:

Northeast: fell 7.6 percent
South: fell 2 percent
Midwest: fell 0.4 percent
West: rose 2 percent

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August 02, 2012 at 4:49 pm

This is so true in my area. Real Estate is a regional market and all regions are different. In my area many home sellers can not put their homes on the market because they have lost 20% in value in the last 5 years. I myself sold a home I had lived in for 15 years before the crash, doubled my money then bought a bigger home that I am WAY upside down in. The price correction we are going through now was necessary but it is very painful to home owners who purchased in the last 10 years. There are indeed fewer homes for sale in the lower price range in my market and mid priced markets also.

August 02, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Don't let what your eyes tell you get in the way of an obviously silly story. Simply drive through any neighborhood in America and count the number of empty properties, properties which cover the gamut of prices. My own neighborhood, before the housing shortage, had people trying to get in. Now, four years later, every street has at least one vacancy. The city council, in their wisdom, approved a huge mid-priced condo development and the infrastructure to support the expected influx of residents. This development has a 21% occupancy rate and many of the stores that came in have gone out of business or are struggling mightily to survive on the population already in place-a population that has far less disposable income. This story is by no means an isolated case. There is a TREMENDOUS number of properties available in all price ranges. Did a developer's association coerce you into writing this drivel?

Bruce Saltzman
July 31, 2012 at 11:11 pm

With California having the highest unemployment of any state in the nation how can the West be selling more homes than before; as indicated by the 2 % rise?
Are the banks just onloding them fast before things get worce?

Battle of Lexington-Concord
July 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Brittish Never Left,
I like your view. I like your writing. I like your style...To ALL- Let this be "the shot heard around the world"!