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November 7, 2019

Southern California house hunters face biggest drop in listings to choose from in 7 years

Southern California house hunters face biggest drop in listings to choose from in 7 years 1

The biggest post-Labor Day drop in inventory in seven years means Southern California house hunters are searching among a below-average number of homes for sale.

According to ReportsOnHousing‘s Oct. 31 tracking of broker networks, 32,849 existing residences were listed for sale in the four counties covered by the Southern California News Group. That’s a drop of 8% from late August — the largest decline in that period since 2012. It’s also down 13.9% in a year and it leaves supply 1% below the average for this time of year.

A slow and worrisome start to 2019, highlighted by a rush of owners to list homes for sale, has been followed by a brisk reversal to more normal market conditions and a rebound in homebuying.

The limited supply, plus a steep drop in mortgage rates, has upped Southern California’s demand for homes — measured as new escrows opened in the past 30 days: 11,962 — up 16.6% in 12 months. That’s 1% below the eight-year average for the days around Halloween.

Remember, a year ago, the market was dealing with mortgage rates nearing 5%. Today, there’s deals around — and under — 4%.

Shrinking inventory and more buying translated to homes selling quicker. The estimated market time shrunk to 82 days — listing to escrow, by ReportsOnHousing’s formula — vs. 112 days a year earlier. ReportsOnHousing considers a “market time” under 90 days as conditions favoring sellers. Since 2012, market time has averaged 85 days at this time of year.

At the county level, listings rose in the past year in one of the four while escrows were up in all four. Here is a look at the Oct. 31 results for the counties vs. the patterns of 12 months ago and the eight-year average for this time of year …

Los Angeles County: 12,423 listings — off 18% in a year and down 4% vs. average. Escrows of 5,109 — up 13% in a year but off 4% vs. average. Market time? 73 days vs. 75 average.

Orange County: Supply of 5,921 — off 18% in a year but up 1% vs. average. Escrows of 2,275 — up 23% in a year and down 5% vs. average. Market time? 78 days vs. a 77 average.

Riverside County: 8,380 listings — off 13% in a year and down 8% vs. average. Escrows of 2,547 — up 15% in a year and down 0.3% vs. average. Market time? 99 days vs. a 109 average.

San Bernardino County: Supply of 6,125 — up 2% in a year and up 13% vs. average. Escrows of 2,031 — up 22% in a year and up 11% vs. average. Market time? 90 days vs. a 91 average.



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