By December 2012, the number of homes on the market dropped 27% from the same month in 2011, according to Movoto Real Estate data.

In a typical year, the number of homes on the market rise in January and peak during the late summer and early fall. Normally, inventory falls during the colder months of the year and hit an annual low in December.

In 2012, however, inventory only dropped from January.

From November to December, inventory dropped by 9,551 homes, or about 9%. There were 105,077 homes available at the end of November, while in December there were 95,526 homes.

In 2011, the inventory declined by only 8% between the two months and 2010 only saw a 5% drop between the final two months of the year.

So what created this lack of inventory?

Most homeowners are nervous to sell their homes because they are either underwater or believe prices will continue to appreciate. Additionally, we are seeing a rise in investor demand coupled with a decrease in foreclosures.

This small pool of housing inventory pushed prices up significantly the past year. Unless this trend changes, 2013 will only be more of the same — a small inventory of expensive homes on the market.

mhopkins@housingwire.com

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