Biggest rush of homes listed for sale? California ranks No. 7 – The Mercury News

The “Looking Glass” ponders economic and real estate trends through two distinct lenses: the optimist’s “glass half-full” and the pessimist’s “glass half-empty.”

Buzz: The number of US homes for sale jumped 25% from April to May, the biggest one-month jump in a database that dates to 2016.

Source: My trusty spreadsheet looked inside the St. Louis Fed’s curation of monthly listings stats from Realtor.com.

Debate: Was this large jump a short-term reaction by owners to rising mortgage rates and economic fears, or was it the beginning of a surge for house hunters who have had few choices in the pandemic era? And where did owners rush to sell the most?

Glass half-full

If one sees the May surge as good news for home shoppers, California ranked No. 7 at 37%.

The biggest jumps were in the Western US: No. 1 Washington, up 62%, then Utah at 60%, Idaho at 52%, Arizona at 45% and Colorado at 41%.

Smallest? South Dakota at 4%, then Hawaii at 8%, West Virginia at 11%, New York at 11% and Louisiana at 12%,

And California’s rivals: Texas, No. 19 at 27% and Florida, No. 22 at 25%.

So how odd was May? Let’s look at what owners did in 2017-19 before the coronavirus upended house hunting.

An average May in pre-pandemic years saw US listings rise slightly by 4% from April to May. This year, May’s increase was six times bigger.

California’s average May jump in 2017-19 was 8%. This year’s jump was 4.5 times bigger.

The biggest increases? Wisconsin’s 22% was 18 times bigger than the 2017-19 May pace; Delaware’s 23% was 15 times larger, Arkansas’s 15% was a 14-fold increase, and Oklahoma’s 17% was 10 times faster.

Glass half-empty

No matter how you view May’s stunning surge, listings are still running well below pre-pandemic norms.

May 2022 inventory nationwide was 60% below the average May of 2017-19. California was down 45% — the sixth-smallest dip.

Farthest from normal? Vermont was 82% below average, followed by Connecticut, which was off by 78%, Maine off 75%, and North Carolina and New Hampshire off 73%.

Closest to normal, and still not all that close was Nevada, off 29%, then New York off 34%, Washington state and Idaho off 41% and Utah off 44%.

Texas ranks No. 12, off 54%, and Florida was No. 35, off 67%.

What’s ahead

What’s a typical June for homes on the market?

The spreadsheet says the 2017-19 track record will boost listings nationwide by 4%, with California ranked No. 26 at 5%.

The biggest average jumps have been in Washington state, up 13%, then Maine and Colorado at 12%, and Oregon and New Hampshire at 11%.

Supply drops in snow-bird friendly Arizona, down 3% on average, and Florida, off 2%. The housing supply runs flat in Alabama, Delaware and South Carolina.

Then there’s Texas, No. 22 with 5% growth.

Caveat

If you look at May on a year-over-year basis, 30 states had rising supplies for homes for sale — with the nation overall up 8%. California ranked No. 9 at 28%.

Biggest jumps? Idaho at 88%, then Utah at 73%, Arizona at 59%, Washington at 44%, and Tennessee at 42%.

Smallest? Connecticut, off 55%, then Vermont (down 31%), Illinois (down 17%), Iowa (down 17%), and New Mexico (down 16%).

Texas? No. 11, up 22%. Florida? No. 29, up 1%.

PS: Among 50 big metro areas tracked, the year’s largest jump in homes on the market was in Austin (up 86%), then came Phoenix (up 67%), Sacramento (up 55%) and the Inland Empire (up 52%) ).

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com

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