Where Inventory Is Shrinking, Expanding Most

September 8, 2020

The number of homes for sale nationwide is in record low territory. When the pandemic hit, many homeowners took their homes off the market and many are still waiting to sell. That has created a frenzy in many markets as buyers compete for a limited number of homes for sale.

Some of the nation’s most affordable areas are seeing the largest drops in housing inventories.

Among the 50 most populous U.S. metros, San Antonio, Texas, has experienced some of the largest decreases in inventory. The number of homes for sale has dropped 21% year-over-year in July. That's after inventories were up in San Antonio by 1% in February, just before the COVID-19 outbreak struck the U.S., research from Redfin shows.

Baltimore followed with some of the largest inventory drops in the nation, down 21 percentage points. Frederick, Md., Newark, N.J., and Chicago all tied for third place falling 20 percentage points.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of the nation’s priciest markets are seeing an increase in housing inventories. The San Francisco metro area has seen the number of homes for sale climb 51% year-over-year in July, after having dropped 2% in February, Redfin’s data shows. New York saw the second-largest increase in inventory, increasing 13 percentage points, followed by San Jose, Calif., up 7 percentage points.

“There’s a perfect storm in the housing market right now,” says Jason Allen, Redfin’s marketing manager in Baltimore. “People are more comfortable staying in their homes; they’re investing in pools, offices, and better backyards instead of moving. But at the same time, there are suddenly a lot more people who want those amenities, so we’re seeing this huge wave of buyers. We’re meeting far more clients who want to buy a home than sell a home.”