Looking for a Home? The Places That Are Seeing the Biggest Inventory Spikes

12 min read

Where are all the homes, anyway? Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic ignited a nationwide housing boom, wannabe buyers have been plagued by bone-dry home inventory levels in many markets—causing them to either wait on the sidelines for more choices or slug it out in frantic bidding wars for the scraps of the market.

Now, as we head into the crucial spring real estate season, buyers are still finding no shortage of challenges: Home prices are historically high, mortgage interest rates are rising, and folks are once again swamping open houses, spilling out onto sidewalks.

But there is a silver lining: In many markets, there are a lot more homes to choose from. And the data team at Realtor.com® found the metropolitan areas where the overall home listings are up the most.

Let’s be clear: The nation is still suffering from a severe housing shortage. But compared with one year ago, there are about 250,000 more homes for sale. Housing inventory has been on the upswing since the middle of 2022, with the number of active listings on Realtor.com hitting 626,000 in January 2023.

It’s not that all of a sudden more people are listing their homes for sale. In fact, fewer new listings—the lifeblood of the housing market—went on the market in January of this year compared with January 2022. The difference is that homes are now taking longer to sell. There are simply fewer buyers who can afford to purchase real estate with mortgage rates approaching 7% for 30-year fixed-rate loans.

So, the properties that aren’t snapped up immediately—the desperate fixer-uppers, the overpriced digs, the oddly configured places woefully lacking curb appeal, the homes in less desirable areas—are piling up on the market as the number of home sales has dropped. The result is more options for potential buyers and more time to consider their purchase or even negotiate with sellers.

Unfortunately for buyers, the rise in homes for sale hasn’t resulted in prices falling, at least in the majority of these places. In fact, prices are still rising in many of these areas.

That’s why, in the estimation of Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale, it’s not quite a buyer’s market yet, because affordability is still a challenge.

“We’re seeing inventories grow from record lows, so the percent-change figures are huge,” she says.

Even with the jump in homes for sale, a 65% increase from January 2022, Hale points out, inventory is still far below where it was in January 2019, when there were more than 1.1 million homes on the market.

The upshot for now, Hale says, is that buyers have more homes to choose from and more time to weigh their potential purchase. That all amounts to a good negotiating position.

“Sellers might have to come down or find some other way to sweeten the deal for buyers,” she says.

In the 10 metro areas on our list alone, there were 30,500 more listings in January 2023 than in January 2022.

To come up with this list, we used publicly available listing data on Realtor.com to figure out where home inventory was up the most in January 2023 compared with the same time a year earlier. We included only the metro with the largest percentage increase in year-over-year active listings per state to ensure geographical diversity.

(Metros include the main city and surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.)

So where are more homes up for sale?

Ogden, UT

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Year-over-year active listings increase: 392%
Median home list price: $542,450

Ogden, about one hour north of Salt Lake City, attracted scores of out-of-town (and often out-of-state) buyers during the pandemic bidding home prices up. Builders put up scores of new homes. But as the number of buyers moving into the area has dwindled and locals are grappling with higher mortgage rates, the number of homes for sale has nearly quintupled since January last year.

It’s worth noting, though, that in January 2022, the inventory in Ogden was extremely low. There were fewer than 300 active listings then, in a metro with 709,000 residents. How quickly things can change.

With more than 1,300 active listings in January 2023, the number of listings for the size of the population is now close to the same figure nationally.

And buyers in the Silicon Slopes, as the tech-heavy area is known, can still find homes priced just a little lower than in Salt Lake City. Plus, they’re not far from several ski resorts.

Huntsville, AL

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Year-over-year listings increase: 319%
Median home list price: $389,800

Huntsville, located in the northern end of Alabama near the Tennessee border, has thrived in recent years, due in large part to its role as a regional technology hub and for its aerospace industry.

It’s home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the famous children’s Space Camp. Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman also have a presence there.

It’s also another place where the number of homes available for sale has more than quadrupled. It went from a little over 350 in January 2022 to more than 1,500 in January 2023.

Like almost all the cities on this list, Huntsville’s home prices are still up over this time last year, by about 5%, at $389,800 in January 2023. But homes are now taking longer to sell.

A year ago, the median listing spent 32 days on the market, far below the national figure at the time of 62 days. Now it’s up to 69 days, more than doubling how long a seller should expect to wait before selling.

Nashville, TN

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Year-over-year listings increase: 304%
Median home list price: $504,950

Nashville, the music and culture capital of the South, became a major destination during the pandemic. And while unsold homes might be piling up, that doesn’t appear to be slowing down the local real estate market.

With the median listing price up 11% year over year in January, Music City is outpacing the national average of an 8% across-the-board price increase. It also has the biggest price growth of any metro on the list.

Homes are still selling briskly. The time a home spends on the market here was lower one year ago, in January 2022, than all the other metros on the list, at just 26 days. And Nashville leads the pack still, with just 54 days for the median listing, or 27% less time than the national median of 75 days.

Austin, TX

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Year-over-year listings increase: 260%
Median home list price: $521,500

Texas’ quirky capital city, Austin, practically became a poster child of the pandemic-era migration that saw high-equity homeowners, especially from the coasts, relocate to a city for a warm climate, relative affordability, and low cost of living.

The city’s oddball bona fides, memorialized for many by Richard Linklater’s cult classic “Slacker,” are also considered a major attraction for those looking for a Texas lifestyle with a twist.

But, as anyone watching the market knows, Austin has seen one of the larger corrections in the months since interest rates put the brakes on the real estate market. Local builders are now throwing incentives at buyers. This January, almost half of listings have a price reduction, compared with about 20% one year ago.

Median listing prices are down 5% year over year, one of the few price declines on the list, going from $548,000 in January 2022 to $521,500 in January 2023. And the median listing is also now spending almost three months on the market before selling, which is longer than the national median and the longest of any city in this ranking.

Austin’s inventory is also up significantly, with 6,350 homes available in January 2023, compared with fewer than 1,800 in January 2022.

Sarasota, FL

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Year-over-year listings increase: 259%
Median home list price: $539,750

About 50 miles south of Tampa, on the Gulf Coast, Sarasota has become another of the coastal Florida cities that have attracted lots of new residents in the past few years. Buyers were drawn to the area’s warm temperature, low taxes, and cheaper cost of living.

In addition to the sterling, quartz beaches and a new-construction boom, Sarasota has the most active listings per capita of any of the places on our list. The number of homes for sale jumped from about 1,150 in January 2022 to more than 4,100 in January of this year.

Peter Laughlin, the founder of Laughlin Tanner Group at Sarasota Luxury Real Estate, says home prices have gone up dramatically over the past few years—especially in the luxury market.

“I’m bringing a house on the market in the next week or two. It sold for $4.5 million a few years ago,” he says. “It’s coming onto the market at $16 million.”

His buyers are changing as well.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in 34 years of real estate,” he says. “We’re getting more people from the Northeast and California, where it used to be a lot of retirees from the Midwest.”

Raleigh, NC

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Year-over-year listings increase: 255%
Median home list price: $441,875

Raleigh, which is part of North Carolina’s thriving Research Triangle, has also emerged as a popular destination for newcomers. It has culture, reasonable home prices, and a thriving STEM industry with local universities turning out the next generation of engineers, coders, and scientists.

This time last year, the Raleigh metro had fewer than 1,000 homes on the market despite its population of more than 1.4 million. In January, inventory rose to more than 3,200.

But Tim Clarke, the president of the Tim Clarke Team at Howard Perry and Walston in Raleigh, says those numbers come with a big caveat, with a haunting nickname: “ghost listings.”

New-home construction in Raleigh is happening at a quick pace, Clarke says, and developers can sometimes get ahead of themselves.

“The agent will put up a ‘pre-sale’ listing before the house is vertical at all,” he says. “You’ll find a lot of these listings are just renderings.”

And builders in Raleigh, Clarke explains, are incentivized to cater to the higher price ranges with their new homes.

“We have so much land, and the land keeps getting more valuable,” he says.

That means shoppers with a lower price range will already be priced out before anything is even built, and the more expensive a home that a developer can build, the bigger the profit.

“So we have this weird dichotomy, with inventory going up, but a lot of it isn’t built yet, and the resale market inventory is still low,” Clarke says, “but the price point is still going up substantially.”

Fayetteville, AR

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Year-over-year listings increase: 211%
Median home list price: $397,232

Tucked into the northwest corner of Arkansas, near where it meets Oklahoma and Missouri, the hilly Fayetteville metro area, home to the University of Arkansas, is a place where it’s become easier for buyers to snag a home.

The metro, with about 560,000 residents, had only about 550 available listings in January 2022. Now that’s up to almost 1,700.

Fayetteville is an area that didn’t see an above-average demand during the pandemic, measured at least by the number of days the median listing spends on the market. In January 2022, the median listing spent 62 days on the market, matching exactly the national figure at the time. Now, the average home spends 79 days on the market.

For buyers thinking about affordability, the Fayetteville metro offers another perk. It’s one of the only two areas on the list where the median home price is below the national average.

Phoenix, AZ

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Year-over-year listings increase: 190%
Median home list price: $478,395

Phoenix, one of the most infamous boom-and-bust real estate markets, is living up to its reputation. Just last year, listings were scarce as buyers and investors waged bidding wars. But now there are nearly 10,000 more active listings in January 2023 compared with January 2022.

The huge swing in homes for sale isn’t because many more homes are going up for sale—it’s because buyers aren’t purchasing them. So they’re sitting on the market for twice as long.

Home prices have taken a hit, too: They’ve dropped by about 4% compared with the same time last year.

Seattle, WA

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Year-over-year listings increase: 181%
Median home list price: $724,975

Though the Emerald City has more homes on the market, inventory is still tight. With more than 4 million residents and just over 3,700 homes for sale, Seattle had the fewest per capita listings of any metro on the list. That’s kept prices high.

The tech hub is also the most expensive of all the metros on the list, by far. At nearly $725,000, the median home in Seattle is 80% pricier than the U.S. median.

To put all of this in context, the number of homes for sale in January 2023—although triple the number of just a year ago—was still more than 30% below where it was three years ago, in January 2019.

Colorado Springs, CO

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Year-over-year listings increase: 164%
Median home list price: $493,250

Colorado’s second-largest metro area, about an hour south of Denver, is a fast-growing city popular with outdoorsy folks looking to save some cash. (Homes here are about $100,000 less than in Denver.)

Listings in what is often locally referred to as “The Springs” are spending more than twice as long on the market. Going from a rock-bottom 30 days on the market one year ago, the median listing now sits on the market for 69 days. The increase is the biggest of any on the list, showing how quickly the market has slowed down here. With homes sitting longer, inventory has risen.

“Sellers are a little anxious right now that they’re not going to get what their property is listed for,” says Jerrod Butler, the owner and broker at Wish Property Group in Colorado Springs. “I try to prepare them for that.”

The median listing price in Colorado Springs is barely above where it was one year ago, after years of sharp increases in value.

“I’m telling [buyers] that they can probably get seller concessions, maybe even knock $10,000 or $20,000 off the list price,” says Butler.

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