February Housing Inventory Sees Huge Gains

March 5, 2024 - 3 min read

Promising news for home buyers

The double-edged sword of low affordability and low inventory has made house hunting a daunting task in recent times.

While the supply of for-sale homes still lag pre-pandemic totals, signs point to a recovery underway. The count of active listings shot up almost 15% annually in February, according to Realtor.com.

Even better, some of the largest inventory gains came in comparatively inexpensive cities and relatively affordable price tiers.

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Active listings take big leap in February

In a promising sign for prospective borrowers, active home listings surged 14.8% annually in February, according to Realtor.com’s Housing Report. A typical day during the month yielded 665,063 for-sale listings, the highest count for a February since 2020.

It also represented the fourth straight month — and 18th of the past 24 — of year-over-year inventory growth. The count did decline by 2,087 units from January, inching down 0.3%. However, January’s had more active listings than February’s every year since 2017 — the earliest Realtor.com’s data goes back.

“The first couple of months of 2024 have proven to be positive for inventory levels, as the number of homes actively for sale was at its highest level since 2020,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist of Realtor.com. “While the country is still well below pre-pandemic levels, the South is leading the charge, moving faster than other parts of the country, largely driving the increase in availability of homes priced between $200,000 and $350,000, a price category that saw the most year-over-year growth nationally.”

By price tier, properties between $200,000 and $350,000 had the highest rate of inventory growth and occupied the largest share of the market — an especially encouraging development for first-time home buyers.

The group’s total for-sale count increased 20.6% year-over-year and accounted for 25.4% of all active listings. Only the under $100,000 tier — the smallest share of properties at 4% — decreased annually, falling 5% in listing count. The full breakdown can be seen in the table below:

Price tierActive listing countGrowth from Feb. 2023Share of propertiesChange from Feb. 2023
Under $100K26,280-5.0%4.0%-0.8%

Southern locales topped the leaderboard in annual inventory growth among the 50 largest U.S. housing markets. Three Florida metro areas led the way, with active listing count gains of 38.5% in Orlando, 37.4% in Miami and 36.3% in Tampa. Memphis, Tenn., and Denver rounded out the top five with increases of 35.5% and 30%, respectively.

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The table below shows February’s 10 biggest rises in listing count:

Metro areaActive listing count growth from Feb. 2023Median listing pricePrice change from Feb. 2023
Orlando, Fla.38.5%$435,0000.0%
Tampa, Fla.36.3%$416,0003.9%
Memphis, Tenn.35.5%$325,0000.4%
New Orleans29.3%$325,0000.1%
San Antonio26.6%$335,000-1.5%
Birmingham, Ala.24.2%$286,0005.7%

On the other end, 21 of those markets saw their active listings decrease from February 2023. Las Vegas fell furthest, with a 39.3% annual decline. Next came year-over-year drops of 13.4% in Chicago, 12.8% in San Jose, Calif., 9.9% in New York, and 8.1% in Providence, R.I. The table below shows the full bottom 10:

Metro areaActive listing count growth from Feb. 2023Median listing pricePrice change from Feb. 2023
Las Vegas-39.3%$465,0004.4%
San Jose, Calif.-12.8%$1,367,000-2.3%
New York-9.9%$750,00010.2%
Providence, R.I.-8.1%$500,0000.4%
Sacramento, Calif.-7.2%$633,0004.4%
Raleigh, N.C.-6.5%$440,000-2.2%
Rochester, N.Y.-5.6%$250,0007.5%

The bottom line for home buyers

With affordability sidelining many would-be home buyers, competition could be high for house hunters in 2024.

If you’re searching to purchase a home, it’s helpful to get your ducks in a row. Plus, you could save big money by learning strategies for mortgage rate negotiation and seeing what down payment and closing cost assistance you may qualify for.

Reach out to a local mortgage professional if you’re ready to begin your path to homeownership.

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Paul Centopani
Authored By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.
Aleksandra Kadzielawski
Reviewed By: Aleksandra Kadzielawski
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Aleksandra is the Senior Editor at The Mortgage Reports, where she brings 10 years of experience in mortgage and real estate to help consumers discover the right path to homeownership. Aleksandra received a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. She is also a licensed real estate agent and a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).