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Sellers Test Housing Market Amid Rising Prices
Nick Timiraos / The Wall Street Journal / September 12, 2013
Housing inventories increased in August and stood just 2.5% below their levels of a year ago, offering the latest sign that more sellers are testing the market after swift home-price gains over the past year.
Nationally, there were 1.98 million homes listed for sale in August, according to a report released Thursday by Realtor.com. That was up by more than 24% from the low point in February and up 1% from July. Inventories have increased for six straight months.
While the overall level of homes for sale remains relatively depressed, the report suggests that inventory may have hit a bottom earlier this year after an extended two-year decline.
The report also suggests that home-buyer traffic has eased following a period in which mortgage rates have jumped by more than one percentage point.
Inventories in nine of the nation’s top 30 housing markets were above their levels of last August, led by Los Angeles, where inventory was up by 17.4% from a year ago to its highest level since April 2012. Inventories in Atlanta were 13.9% above last year’s level. Other gains were reported in Orlando, Fla. (up 7.1%); Orange County, Calif. (6.9%); Miami (5.1%); Philadelphia (4.2%); and Phoenix (2.8%).