Home Supply Increased in February By James R. Hagerty Wall Street Journal 03-08-2010

Home Supply Increased in February By James R. Hagerty Wall Street Journal 03-08-2010

Home Supply Increased in February
By James R. Hagerty
The Wall Street Journal
March 8, 2010

The number of homes listed for sale increased in many metropolitan areas in February.

The supply of homes available for sale in 27 major metropolitan areas at the end of February was up 4.2% from a month earlier, according to figures compiled by ZipRealty Inc., a real-estate brokerage firm based in Emeryville, Calif. The ZipRealty data cover all single-family homes, condominiums and town houses listed on local multiple-listing services in metro areas where the firm operates.

On a national basis, inventories typically rise in February from the January level as people put houses on the market in anticipation of the busy spring home-shopping season. Over the past 27 years, the average increase in February has been 3.4%, according to Ivy Zelman, chief executive of Zelman & Associates, a research firm.

Compared with the year-earlier month, the February inventory in the 27 metro areas covered by Zip was down about 19%.

These inventory data don't capture the entire potential housing supply. Around eight million households are behind on their mortgage payments or in the often lengthy process of foreclosure. Many of those homes eventually are likely to be put on the market as banks foreclose or owners are forced to sell.

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