For-sale inventory rises 23% in 10 weeks

The number of Orange County homes for sale continued to rise over the past two weeks, but still remains well below normal.

Steve Thomas of reported Monday that the Realtor-run multiple listing service had 3,899 homes for sale as of Thursday, up by 716 listings — 23 percent — from mid-March.

Orange County listings fell to their lowest level in 8 1/2 years in January and remained flat until mid-March.

Still, there were almost 2,000 more homes on the market in late May of 2012, or 33 percent more.

“The increase is an about face after falling for 18 months straight, dating back to June,” Thomas wrote in his latest report. “The current level remains extremely anemic; however, it is finally moving in the right direction.”

Still, Orange County homes are selling quicker than they did in January. Thomas calculated that it would take 38 days to sell all the homes on the market at the current sales pace, vs. 47 days in January and in May 2012. The quickest pace in Thomas’ records was 33 days on March 14.

Thomas reported also that distressed inventory — formerly foreclosed homes and homes selling “short” of the amount needed to pay off the mortgage — fell to 4 percent of all listings, down from a high of 45 percent in January 2009.

Distressed homes made up 15 percent of homes sold — 11 percent short sales and 4 percent foreclosures, he added.

“There was a palpable shift away from distressed properties,” Thomas wrote. “Instead, standard sales, regular homeowners with equity in their homes, entered the mix. They chipped away at the distressed inventories grip on the market, and property (values) began to appreciate.”

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