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US housing supply at seven year low

The number of for-sale homes in the US is at its lowest point in at least seven years, December’s Zillow Real Estate Market Report has revealed.

The number of available homes fell by 7.5% annually, with 31 of the 35 largest US housing markets reporting falling inventory.

Seattle (down 28.5%), San Diego (down 23%) and Sacramento (down 21.7%) saw inventory shrink the most in 2019, while San Antonio (up 8.1%), Detroit (up 7.6%), Atlanta (up 1.8%) and Chicago (up 0.6%) are the only cities seeing it rise.

Zillow said “the shortage appears to get worse before it gets better”.

Skylar Olsen, director of economic research at Zillow, said: “The end of 2019 looks a whole lot different than we might have expected at the beginning of the year.

“A year ago, a combination of a government shutdown, stock market slump and mortgage rate spike caused a long-anticipated inventory rise. That supposed boom turned out to be a short-lived mirage as buyers came back into the market and more than erased the inventory gains.

“As a natural reaction, the recent slowdown in home values looks like it’s set to reverse back to accelerating growth right as we head into home shopping season with demand outpacing supply.”

The typical home value in the U.S. is $244,054, an increase of 3.7% from December 2018.

Meanwhile average US rent grew 2.6% year-over-year to $1,600.