Taking an “Inventory” of Current Market Conditions

In advance of Monday’s release of May existing-home sales, let’s take a look at where things stand.

The main story this year has been the uneven balance between supply and demand and the upward pressure it’s putting on prices.

Robust hiring over the past year and low interest rates are the key drivers behind higher sales so far in 2015. However, without meaningful inventory gains, homes are selling fast and bidding wars are on the rise. Take this into consideration:

1. Properties sold in April faster (39 days) than at any time since July 2013 (42 days) and the second shortest time (37 days in June 2013) since we began tracking this in May 2011.

2. Roughly 40 percent of properties sold last month went at or above asking price, which generally indicates multiple bids on an eventual closed sale.

With interest rates unlikely to return to the lows seen earlier this year, we’ll be looking closely at where total housing inventory stands at the end of May. More existing-inventory and new home construction is need to keep price growth from rising too high.