I have recently been hearing from buyers that they don't feel like there are enough choices for them in the marketplace. I did a little digging to legitimize what they have been feeling. The Supply and Demand Ratio shows there are 4.39 homes on the market per buyer. This is down from 5.02 homes per buyer in April 2009 and 7.28 in April 2008. While the numbers for this year and last year look similar, that is nearly a 13% difference in the amount of homes for sale per buyer which is a large enough difference to be felt in the home shopping process.
Here is the Weekly Market Report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors with more current statistics. Additional evidence can be found in the number of homes on the market which is down 12.5% from last year at this time. Another measure that the industry uses shows there is a 6 month supply of homes on the market; 2 years ago there was over a 9 month supply of homes.
These statistics match up with what several of my buyers have been feeling. However, if we look a closer at the statistics we find that not all price ranges are created equal. For example, overall inventory may be down and buyers under $120k may be shackled with less choices (currently a 3 month supply of homes) but buyers shopping in the over $1M range have almost a 3 year supply to pick from (compared to a 2 year supply a year ago). There are price ranges and areas where buyers still have significant choices and opportunities. For buyers, it is very important to review price range specific statistics when pondering the age old buying questions, "is now the right time?" I recommend getting an analysis of your specific area of interest and price range to know exactly what's happening within your shopping budget.
Jacqueline A. Miller