May 2014 Housing Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 15, 2014 - 4:50pm

San Diego's median price per square foot eked out a small gain in May, with the single family home median rising .3% from April.

Looking at the Case-Shiller estimate, which smooths things out with a 3-month average, the upward trend seems to have slowed a bit but remained intact.

Activity backed off, with both closed and pending sales down:

Inventory kept creeping up:

But that number masks what's going on beneath the surface, which is that contingent inventory (short sales awaiting bank approval, mostly) has been declining as active inventory has risen pretty strongly.  Here's a look at just active inventory, showing that actives just surpassed early-2012 levels.  Note how much more active inventory there is than at this time last year:

I thought it would be interesting to graph active and contingent separately:

You can see how the two have gone in completely opposite directions starting in early 2013, causing the decline in contingents to offset the rise in actives.  The difference is that contingents were not really inventory in the traditional sense... they were still listed, but they were "spoken for," with a buyer's offer being reviewed by the owning bank.  Active inventory, on the other hand, is real inventory that is available to buyers, so you could argue that actives alone are a better indicator of supply than the overall inventory number.

Here's a similar graph, showing how contingents were once a big proportion of inventory... now, not so much:

Here's a longer-term look at total inventory:

Here are the usual graphs on months of inventory.  The conclusion remains the same as it's been recently -- months of inventory has been rising but remains quite low historically:

But given the active vs. contingent issue described above, it makes sense to also look at months of active inventory.

These graphs suggest that the market is nowhere near so dramatically undersupplied than it was a year ago -- but that inventory is still on the low side, historically speaking.  It seems that months of active inventory is still at a level that implies upward pressure on home prices...  but if inventory keeps growing as it has been, and sales weaken further, that could change.

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Submitted by werdna on July 5, 2014 - 9:45pm.

Some June stats are available:

No resale/new breakdown, but the trend there shows continued rise in months of inventory.

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