Housing inventory increases for first time in 10 years in October

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October's rise in the supply of homes for sale could signal the housing market is getting closer to equal footing for buyers and sellers, according to Remax.

The for-sale home inventory increased 1% in October from the year before, breaking a streak of 119 consecutive months of year-over-year declines. However, it marks a 2.6% decrease from September's supply.

There's now a 3.5-month supply of homes for sale on the market, a step up from last October's 3.3 months, but a slight downgrade from 3.7 months in September 2018. A 6-month supply signifies a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

"The market continues to move toward equilibrium. The modest inventory increase is a much welcome sign for buyers," Remax CEO Adam Contos said in a press release. "Although home sales were down year-over-year, it's encouraging to see the magnitude of the decline decrease from the sharp drop we witnessed in September. The trend of easing price increases remains and that's also a positive."

Home sales dropped 4.6% year-over-year, marking the eighth month of 2018 with a decrease and the third month in a row. The overall lessening of sales aided the inventory growth.

Median sales prices grew year-over-year for the 31st-consecutive month and hit the highest October median in the 10-year history of the Remax National Housing Report. The median sales price of $236,000 represented an annual increase of 4.6%, while declining 1.3% month-over-month.

Of the 53 housing markets tracked by Remax, the largest increases in median home prices from October 2017 came in Boise, Idaho, with 18%, Omaha, Neb., with 11.8%, and San Francisco's 10.8%.

"The imbalance that has defined this market for so long continues to moderate," said Contos. "However, it will take some time to recalibrate. Rising prices and interest rates and tight inventory levels continue. Buyer and seller expectations still appear to be a bit mismatched suggesting a choppy market remains in place."

The average number of days a home remained on the market was 48 days in October, down from 51 year-over-year and up from 46 in September.

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Housing inventory Housing market Purchase Home prices Mortgage rates Remax