Saturday, May 03, 2008

Why are OC Inventories Flat?

I've seen some anecdotal evidence that inventory levels of are essentially flat since the end of January this year and on year-on-year basis as well. This causes me a great deal of cognitive dissonance; it may do the same to you.

As examples, I'll site the inventory graph from IHB which show inventory levels flat for Irvine and the OC inventory numbers found on Bubble Tracking which show inventory flatness for OC.

If you have a close look at the OC inventory data, what you're going to see is that according to Redin on Jan 30, 2008 there were 17,151 homes for sale in OC; on April 30 there were 17,358. A couple of hundred more homes in April than January, a bit more than 1% which I would call essentially flat. So for the year, inventories are essentially flat.

Even if you don't consider the 1% increase to "flat", I'd point out that in the same period in 2007, we saw inventories rise 28.5% rise from roughly 13,200 units to just under 17,000 units and that historically a rise in inventories as we enter Spring is typical. But this year we don't seem to be having any seasonal run-up inventories.

And, I'm sure you've already noticed the coincidence that we have roughly 17,000 homes for sale both now and one year ago as well, meaning of course that inventories on OC are flat on a year-on-year basis as well.

I have to say this is strongly counter-intuitive to me. I mean, we have only a trickle of homes being sold compared to last year and I would expect almost every other year on record, showing that demand is weak. On the other hand, we also have a glut of bank-owned, short-sale, foreclosure-avoidance properties on the market meaning that supply, at least for those segments of homes, is strong.

So, I pose these questions to readers:

Doesn't weak demand and strong supply at least [i]imply[/i] that inventories should be on the rise?

And if not that, then shouldn't we at least have our normal, seasonal run up of inventory?

Is it the case that a lack of "discretionary" home sales have lead to stable levels of inventory?

Does anyone have any OC-level data that shows something different? Maybe from the MLS?

Any information or insight would be welcome.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many folks feel it'sthe bottom, it's not worth selling, govt to rescue with low intersest & bailout. Won't make $ now,letting home forclose milking free rent.
= inventory paralysis,

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