So we set out to find the metros where the number of homes on the market is shrinking at the fastest rate. And what it all means.

The® data team calculated the total amount of residential square footage that has disappeared from the market over the past three years. And because inventory shortages are a heck of a lot tougher to visualize than, say, home prices, we put them into perspective. For example, Minneapolis lost the equivalent in inventory of more than twoMalls of America—the largest mall in the nation with 4.9 million square feet—over a three-year period.

Bottom line: The total number of homes for sale is about as low as it’s ever been. Inventory listed on in the first six months of 2018 is 18.2% lower than the same period in 2015. The sheer number of homes on the market in January 2018 was only 6.2 million, according to U.S. Census—a gigantic drop-off from the 14.3 million total in January 2009. Current inventory levels are comparable with what they were in the early ’60s, when the Census started collecting the data and the U.S. had roughly half its current population.

Yikes. The shrinking number of homes available means more bidding wars, bigger price hikes, and less selection. And this isn’t something that is limited to a handful of places. Of the 50 largest markets, 39 saw a decrease in inventory over the past three years.

Thank the rebounding economy for the shortage. During the recession, many folks lost their homes to short sales and foreclosures, and many builders went out of business. Then came the recovery and pent-up demand—and not enough homes to meet it.
…continue reading the rest of this post: Where Did All the Homes Go? A Historic Shortage, and Cities It’s Hitting Hardest