Report: Housing ‘spooked’ by low supply

October 29th, 2012,  by 

OC Register

The latest Orange County home inventory report from Steve Thomas and — data as of October 25 includes these thoughts …

With homes appreciating again, inventories much lower, and demand much higher, there is nothing to worry about, right? Wrong. The number one spooky feature of today’s market is the absurdly low inventory. Everybody has heard that inventories are low, but the depth of those lows is only understood by active buyers and sellers today. There are only 4,043 homes on the market after shedding an additional 4% in the past two weeks. The most recent prior record low inventory was established in March 2005, with 4,912 homes. That is 21% more than today!

Thomas’ signature housing measurement is his “market time” benchmark. It tracks how many months it theoretically takes to sell all the inventory in the local MLS for-sale listings at the current pace of pending deals being made. By this Thomas logic, as of October 25 — we see …

  • Market time of 1.29 months for Orange County buyers to gobble up all homes for sale at the current pace vs. 1.29 months two weeks ago vs. 3.46 months a year ago vs. 4.28 months two years ago.
  • Of the 8 Orange County pricing slices Thomas tracks, 4 had faster market time vs. 2 weeks ago; and 8 improved over a year ago.
  • Orange County homes listed for under a million bucks have a market time of 0.99 months vs. 4.41 months for homes listed for more than $1 million.
  • So, basically, it is 4.5 times harder to sell a million-dollar-plus residence!
  • And just so you know, the million-dollar market represents 31% of all homes listed and 9% of all homes that entered into escrow in the past 30 days.

Here’s the recent data for listings; deals pending; market time in months; latest vs. 2 weeks earllier, a year ago and 2 years ago. Color coding for market time is red (slowed by 5%-plus in year); green (sped up by 5%-plus in year); and yellow (in between!) Note: k=thousand; m=million …

Slice Listings Deals Market Time (months) 2 week ago 1 yr. ago 2 yr. ago
$0-$250k 470 532 0.88 0.84 2.71 3.06
$250k-$500k 970 1,394 0.70 0.72 2.49 3.39
$500k-$750k 846 690 1.23 1.18 4.12 4.49
$750k-$1m 553 266 2.08 2.16 5.89 6.11
$1m-$1.5m 397 153 2.59 3.01 6.31 6.82
$1.5m-$2m 261 71 3.68 4.66 9.18 16.67
$2m-4m 352 45 7.82 6.78 17.96 16.47
$4m+ 233 13 17.92 12.05 47.33 81.75
All O.C. 4,043 3,145 1.29 1.29 3.46 4.28


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