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Inventories of For-Sale Homes Drop in Most Major Markets: Altos

Inventories of homes listed for sale are dwindling across the country, in some markets, significantly, according to ""Altos Research"":http://www.altosresearch.com.
[IMAGE] The California-based real estate data and analytics firm released a ""new market update"":http://www.altosresearch.com/altos/features/NationalReport.page this week. The Altos 10-city composite of homes listed for sale fell 4.64 percent in October, according to the report. The 10-city composite is based on single-family homes in Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and Denver.

In addition to Altos' 10-city composite index, the company provides individual market details on 26 major cities. Only three of the 26 markets showed increases in inventory during the month of October â€" Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Diego â€" and Altos described their increases as ""slight.""

Washington, D.C. had the biggest decline in its supply of listed homes at more than 16 percent. Austin, Texas was


also in double-digits, with a 10 percent falloff in its housing inventory for sale.

""Typically, decreases in inventory are evidence of a leveling off; that markets are settling,"" Altos said in its report. ""However, the spectre of shadow inventory remains, bringing with it questions about how foreclosures and short sales are being counted.""

Altos’ report also outlined home prices trends the company is seeing in major U.S. markets. In what the firm says is becoming a familiar pattern, the Altos 10-city composite of home prices fell again in October.

The index was off 1.52 percent in September and another 1.60 percent during October, as the median home price among cities in the composite dropped to $458,518.

“These decreases are in line with our Q4 expectations, though weekly declines in prices are slowing,” Altos said. “December’s report should indicate less dramatic price declines, with a few bubbly exceptions.”

San Diego showed the most significant decrease in home values, with prices there falling by 3.28 percent in October. Altos says San Diego’s reading signals that even the markets that have been less affected by the economic downturn are feeling the pinch of a strained economy.

Other markets showing significant declines in Altos’ study were Salt Lake City, with a drop of 3.27 percent, and Phoenix, where prices fell 3.11 percent last month.

Only Washington, D.C. saw a gain in local home values, up nearly 4 percent, according to Altos’ market analysis.