Nation’s inventory crunch could be winding down

Nationwide inventory is rising, though it remains historically low
Nationwide inventory is rising, though it remains historically low

The nation’s much-discussed inventory shortage is showing signs of easing up, with a 25 percent jump in housing inventory so far this year, according to figures seen by the Wall Street Journal.

Some 1.85 million homes were listed for sale at the beginning of May. The figure is still historically low – the lowest for the month of May since began its tally in 2007 — but is a 5.8 percent increase from April.

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The uptick in listings suggests that rising home prices are prodding buyers to test the waters. So far this year, inventories have risen by roughly 375,000 through April, compared to an increase of just 45,000 for the same period in 2011, and 108,000 in 2012.

A separate Zillow report released today and seen by the Journal showed that inventories at the beginning of June were down 12.2 percent from the same time last year, compared to a year-over-year drop of 17.5 percent in January.

The tale of the Manhattan market may be different, however, with the continuing inventory crunch resulting in the rise of the “hybrid” home-seeker, defined as a customer ambivalent between buying and renting, as The Real Deal reported. [WSJ]Hiten Samtani