The lighter side of real estate

September Market Trends: 10 Cities with The Largest Decline in Inventory

Movoto analyzed some of the largest cities in the country to learn which have seen the largest decrease in inventory over the past 12 months.

David Cross

Content Editor

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One of the prevailing stories at the center of today’s housing market is the continued decline in inventory throughout the country. This decline has stifled would-be home buyers. In many of the country’s largest cities, there are simply not enough homes to go around.

Recently, Movoto Real Estate looked at some of the country’s biggest cities to learn which metropolitan areas have seen the largest decrease in inventory over the past year. The majority of these cities (six of 10) were clustered in California.

The 10 cities with the largest decline in inventory were:

1. Sacramento
2. San Jose
3. Las Vegas
4. San Francisco
5. San Diego
6. Fresno
7. Los Angeles
8. Boston
9. Seattle
10. Denver


The Sacramento real estate market has seen the largest drop in inventory since this time last year. On October 1, 2011 there were 3,525 homes available on the market. Since then Sac-Town has seen a 72 percent decrease in inventory. Today, there are 982 homes on the market.

This tremendous drop in inventory has led to an increase in the median list price. A year ago a home listed at $137,000. Twelve months later this number has risen by 42 percent, and now stands at $195,000.

San Jose

The Bay Area is among the hardest hit in the lack-of-inventory game, and San Jose helps lead the pack. In the past year there has been a 62 percent decline in the number of homes on the market. In October 2011 there were 1,721 homes on the market. Whereas today there are 642 homes available for would-be home buyers.

This decline has caused an increase in list price. List prices in San Jo’ have spiked 20 percent in the past year, going from $499,900 a year ago to $600,000 today.

One bright spot is that the percent of distressed properties in The Capital of Silicon Valley is at 13 percent. While this is nowhere near the 32 percent this figure reached a year ago, it means there are still deals to be had for frugal home buyers.

Las Vegas

The Sin City housing market is anything but lucky. In the past year inventory has dropped 59 percent. Today there are 3,675 homes on the market. A year ago there were 8,895 homes.

If we examine the Las Vegas housing market, it leans toward sellers. Homes are taking about two and a half months to sell and prices are much higher than 12 months ago. During the past year, the list price of a home in Las Vegas skyrocketed by 46 percent, increasing by $55,100. A year ago a Las Vegas home cost $119,900. The current list price is $175,000.

San Francisco

The City by the Bay has seen a 58 percent drop in inventory in the past year. This comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been keeping track of the San Francisco housing market. At the start of October, there were 1,822 homes on the market. Today there are 761.

In addition to low inventory, San Fran has few, if any, distressed properties on the market. Today only one percent of the properties are distressed. This is bad news for home buyers looking for a deal, as properties that go on the market will be luxury homes.

Of course, this says little of the cost to live San Francisco. The median list price has increased by 29 percent, going from $659,000 to $849,000. This is a $190,000 increase–good news for sellers, bad for buyers.

San Diego

San Diego’s inventory dropped by half in the past year. While a year ago there were 3,474 homes on the market, there are now 1,731. As with other cities on this list, San Diego has seen an increase in list price and a decrease in the area’s percentage of distressed properties.

At the moment the median list price for a San Diego home is $545,000, up from $391,900 a year ago. This comes in at a 39 percent increase.

At the same time, the percentage of distressed properties is at a low of 4 percent. Twelve months ago this number hovered around 14 percent. While San Diego isn’t as bad as San Francisco, a low percentage of distressed properties means there are few deals to be had.


Inventory in Fresno has dropped by 48 percent in the past 12 months. Today it stands at 739, while a short year ago this number stood at 1,416 homes.

In conjunction with the decrease in inventory, the city’s listing price has increased by 18 percent. Today the median list price is $187,000—a year ago it was $158,888. Again, low inventory is not a strong indicator of a buyer’s market.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles homes for sale dropped by 42 percent in the past year, going from 4,223 homes last year to 2,374 homes.

At the same time, the percentage of distressed properties decreased. A year ago 23 percent of the homes on the market were distressed. Today this number hovers around 11 percent. This means that many homes that sold in the past year were distressed. While 11 percent is not a low number, many of the best home deals have probably already been found.


Inventory in Beantown is down by seven percent compared to a month ago, and 40 percent compared to a year ago. At the moment, there are 1,220 homes on the market. This is a slight drop compared to the previous month when there were 1,139 listed homes. One year ago there were 2,026 homes on the market.

As with many other cities, Boston’s percentage of distressed properties is lower than normal. Right now this number is at 2 percent, the same as it was a month ago. Last year the percent of distressed properties was at 3 percent.


Compared to a month ago, Seattle’s inventory has remained roughly the same, increasing by a modest 1 percent. At the moment, there are 1,899 homes on the market. Last month there were 1,878 homes.

Still, compared to a year ago, this number has fallen drastically. The home of Starbucks saw a 37 percent decrease in inventory in the past 12 months. There were 3,011 homes on the market at the beginning of October last year and there are now 1,899 homes on the market.

In addition to low inventory, the percentage of distressed properties is low—2 percent at the moment.


The Denver real estate market has seen a significant drop in inventory in the past year. Today there are 2,532 homes on the market, down from 3,763 a year ago. This represents a 33 percent decrease in inventory.

Along with a drop in inventory, there has been a drop in the percentage of distressed homes on the market. A year ago 4 percent of the homes in Denver were distressed. Today 2 percent of homes in The Mile-High City are distressed. This means that frugal home buyers might have a difficult time finding a home deal.

Proof can be seen in the increased listing price of a home in the area, up 18 percent in the last year, and the increased median price per square foot, up 11 percent in the same time frame.

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posted on: October 4, 2012
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