While a dwindling supply of homes for sale has created record shortages, the decline in March was the smallest in eight months, new data shows, an encouraging sign for prospective homebuyers discouraged by the slim pickings.
The number of U.S. homes for sale in March fell 1.1% to 966,970, according to data from Zillow, the online real estate company. That’s not nearly as steep a drop as in other recent months, the chart below shows.
“These are small signs, admittedly, but encouraging ones,” Zillow said in a report Friday. “The return to some seasonal normality is a positive sign that the market is reaching a more steady state and could see inventory rise more steadily going forward.”
While houses are in high demand amid the pandemic, sales have declined because of the short supply, a dynamic that has driven prices skyward. March came in like a lion, with the largest monthly increase in home prices in the more than 25 years Zillow has been tracking price data.
Inventory in March was the smallest since Zillow started keeping track in 2013, and, when compared with housing data from other sources going back further than 2013, it’s almost certainly the lowest on record this century, Zillow economist Treh Manhertz said in an email.