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Report: Lackluster home sales push inventory growth in January

Inventory growth climbs to 10-year high

In January, home sales declined for the sixth consecutive month, leading to the largest inventory increase in 10 years, according to the latest RE/MAX National Housing Report.

RE/MAX reports that although home sales retreated 11% on an annual basis, inventory climbed 6.4% year-over-year across the 54 metros it analyzed.

In fact, January was the fourth consecutive month of annual inventory growth, further reversing a decade-long trend of dwindling inventory, according to the report.

"The winter chill extended to the housing market in January, as home sales remained cool," RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos said. "The good news is that inventory levels in January continued to rise on a year-over-year basis, providing incremental improvement in what's been a multi-year shortage of for-sale homes. This is a positive for homebuyers, as the market continues to swing their way."

According to RE/MAX, homes sold for $234,000 in January, rising 4.6% from last year’s rate. That being said, the rate of growth was still considerably less than the 6.7% posted in January 2018.

Notably, homes spent 59 days on the market, marking a record low for January sold listings. Furthermore, January posted a 3.9-month supply of inventory, increasing from 3.4-month in January 2018.

"Underlying demand remains solid overall, as evidenced by widespread price increases," said Contos. "So the housing market, while not markedly busy in January, remains relatively healthy. Furthermore, with interest rates stabilizing and home-price increases slowing, the spring selling season shapes up to be as interesting as any we have seen in years."

NOTE: The RE/MAX National Housing Report is based on MLS data in approximately 53 metropolitan areas, including all residential property types, and is not annualized. For maximum representation, many of the largest metro areas in the country are represented, and an attempt is made to include at least one metro from each state. 

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