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[Getting Graphic] Inventory Topping Out, But Wearing Out Patience

Getting Graphic is a semi-sort-of-irregular collection of our favorite BIG real estate-related chart(s).

Click here for full graphic [1]

Source: NYT

In Floyd Norris’ [Seeing Something to Cheer in a Big but Stabilizing Inventory of Homes NYT [2] he postulates that while inventory is at record levels, the levels may be stabilizing. The stock market seemed to predict the housing market decline before it happened (thats what stock markets are supposed to do) and now several builder stocks are up.

At the end of August, the latest figures available, there were 4.5 million homes and condos available for sale, more than double the number in late 2001 and up 35 percent from a year earlier. It was the highest figure ever.

But as the second chart shows, the year-over-year growth in inventories peaked in May, with a 38 percent rise.

Of course, there are always plenty of non-believers in such optimism, albeit modest, such as this one [3].

Manhattan saw a similar pattern of easing inventory growth this quarter [4], with listing inventory growth easing off for the first time in 18 months (although the stabilization was an offset between co-op levels falling and condos rising).

Assuming inventory is stabilizing on a national level, the key now is how much time passes by before inventory contracts (no pun intended). If inventory stays firm but remains at record levels, I suspect marked pricing declines in certain markets, namely investor laiden markets, are a distinct concern.