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The Texas problem with housing stock numbers

More than 556,000 single-family homes were for sale nationwide as of last Friday, according to the latest data from HousingWire sister company Altos Research. This means national inventory is up 31.9% year-on-year, extending a 24-week streak of year-on-year gains.

So are agents and brokers happy with real estate listings? Probably not, as despite strong year-on-year growth, stock market listings are still only a fraction of their pre-COVID levels. Agents and brokers, mortgage officers and other real estate professionals continue to compete for their share of tight volumes and would need strong industry growth to return to 2019 levels.

But there's another reason why the growth of national listings isn't a boon for all real estate professionals: The growth is heavily concentrated in Texas and Florida.

In the chart below, all states except Texas, Florida, and California fall into each month's box-and-whisker chart. The boxes represent the middle 50% of the data, and the “whiskers” represent data close enough to that middle 50% to not be considered outliers.

Texas, Florida and California are outside this range – especially Texas and Florida.

This shows how much of an impact Texas and Florida have on national housing numbers. This isn't necessarily surprising; After all, they are two of the most populous states in the country.

But listings in Texas and Florida have grown faster than in most other states, making their impact even greater. Texas, for example, went from about 10% of statewide listings in May 2019 to about 17% currently.

This complicates any conclusions that could be drawn from the national figures alone. Because of their size and rapid growth, Texas and Florida make national stock market growth appear brighter than it otherwise would be. Meanwhile, the national figure massively underestimates the experiences of Texas and Florida.

Even a look at the state level can obscure the specifics of the markets there. Dallas, for example, didn't experience the upswing in listings last year as the rest of Texas, they say CoreLogic MLS data is shared exclusively with HousingWire. Likewise, Jacksonville lagged behind the recovery in listings that the rest of Florida experienced.

The state-level picture is clearer in the map below. Inventories contracted nationally in the second quarter of 2021 and began to recover in the second quarter of 2023, but so far in 2024, Texas and Florida have dominated listing growth.

Although the rest of the country is not seeing the same growth as Texas and Florida, most states are seeing growth some Growth. All but Nevada and New York are up year-over-year, and all but six states are up week-over-week.

Anna Harden

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