MarketWatch assistant managing editor Steve Kerch notes that Friday's existing homes report from the NAR is ominous -- and zeroes in on the real story here: inventory. While April is traditionally the month where sellers flood the market, he asks why so many did so now, when the housing market is so clearly in the midst of a historic downturn. From the story:
April is the biggest time of the year for putting houses on the market. That's because of the school-year cycle; families with kids in school who need to move in the June-August summer recess have to get their homes on the market then in order to sell, buy and close on both transactions before the fall term begins. But even by seasonal standards the number of houses put on the market last month was high.
Kerch says the inventory trend is particularly ominous, when you consider the number of strapped homeowners that may have put their home on the market because they need to sell, the number of REO properties now coming online, the non-discretionary nature of some moves thanks to an unstable job market, and investors now looking for some way (ANY way) out.