Stacker Studio

These 20 metro areas show the massive flux in US housing inventory over the last year

Written by:
March 8, 2022
Sundry Photography // Shutterstock

These 20 metro areas show the massive flux in US housing inventory over the last year

While it’s difficult to predict which way the market might go, fluctuations are not only expected but considered a normal part of investing in real estate. Home prices rise, property values fall, and interest rates change at regular intervals whether you’re buying your first home or selling numerous properties across several markets.

There is really no better example of the unpredictable housing market than the trends over the last year. Throughout 2021, buyers and investors rushed to capitalize on record-low mortgage rates that began falling after the start of the year. As more buyers entered the market and competition heated up, home prices skyrocketed from rural Wisconsin to Manhattan. In some cases, prices increased by double-digit percentages month-over-month. By the close of 2021, the national home prices were up an average of 19% year-over-year. These higher prices made it tough for many low- to moderate-income buyers to compete.

And it wasn’t just home prices that changed over the last year, either. The rates of available inventory also fluctuated wildly throughout 2021 as houses sold at a breakneck pace across the country. Throughout the year, the rates of available inventory rose and fell quickly based on the demand from buyers. Mid-year, an unexpected uptick in available inventory made it appear that there may be a turnaround in the market, potentially easing the competition for buyers who were being outbid for limited housing. By December 2021, however, real estate figures showed a one-year decrease in all metros except for one: Cape Coral, Florida.

Real estate platform ZeroDown analyzed housing market statistics from Redfin’s Data Center to see how housing inventory has changed in different metros over the past year. The top-20 metros with the largest changes in for-sale inventory between December 2020 and December 2021 are listed below, as well as their percent change since July 2021. Additional statistics for December 2021, such as the median sale price and the number of homes sold in the metro that month are also included. Metros that had less than 1,000 homes for sale were not included in order to better compare inventory across metros with different populations. Here are the 20 metro areas that saw a massive flux in U.S. housing inventory over the last year.

1 / 20
Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#20. Hartford, Connecticut

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,795 (39.3% less than December 2020)
--- 50.1% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 1,646
- Median sale price of homes sold: $275,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 44

Housing inventory in Hartford, Connecticut, is significantly lower than it was one year ago—and it’s primarily due to homeowners staying put in their current homes in this city. As with other markets across the nation, the home inventory in Hartford was vastly depleted when mortgage rates dropped early in the pandemic. Unlike some other markets, though, many residents didn’t opt to sell their homes to cash in on rising prices and high demand. Instead, they’re sticking around in their current homes, making repairs, improvements, and updates to their properties. Homeowners who wanted to capitalize on the uptick in buyer demand have already done so, and the rest are staying put, which has resulted in home inventory declining in this city over the last year.

2 / 20
littlenySTOCK // Shutterstock

#19. Nassau County, New York

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 3,962 (39.6% less than December 2020)
--- 45.5% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 2,965
- Median sale price of homes sold: $575,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 33

There are numerous reasons for the low rates of for-sale housing inventory in Nassau County, New York—not the least of which is the swift uptick in buyer demand that occurred over the last year. As home inventory was depleted and prices skyrocketed on the East Coast, buyers turned to areas like Nassau County, which is part of Long Island just east of New York City, for more affordable and more widely available home inventory. That led to a swift depletion of inventory, and the lack of available rental units—as well as a lag in new construction—only exacerbated the issue. Homeowners who would have otherwise sold their properties at a profit found they had nowhere to move—they couldn’t afford to buy elsewhere on Long Island. In turn, many homeowners have opted not to list their homes for sale, leading to housing inventory in Nassau County hitting even lower numbers over the last year.

3 / 20
EHStockphoto // Shutterstock

#18. Miami

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 8,408 (40.3% less than December 2020)
--- 28.4% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 3,275
- Median sale price of homes sold: $440,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 56

A combination of sluggish new construction and buyer demand is what caused the for-sale housing inventory in Miami to decline vastly over last year. Miami has always been one of the hottest markets in the U.S., but it became an even bigger hotspot for buyers and investors when mortgage rates dropped at the start of 2021. Plus, the builders in Miami—and southern Florida in general—have not been able to keep up with the uptick in buyer demand, which helped to push inventory levels even lower. Add to it the fact that the current homeowners in Miami are staying put due to a lack of rental units or affordable housing, and it’s clear the issue with low housing inventory will likely continue for some time in the future—just as it has over the last year.

4 / 20
trekandshoot // Shutterstock

#17. Las Vegas

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 4,009 (40.4% less than December 2020)
--- 34.5% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 3,896
- Median sale price of homes sold: $399,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 29

The recent homebuilding rates have not kept up the pace with demand in Las Vegas—but that’s just one reason why home inventory in this city has declined so significantly over the last year. Las Vegas’s housing market was considered one of the riskiest in the nation as experts predicted the pandemic would hit Southern Nevada’s tourism and hospitality economies hard. Instead, the housing inventory was quickly depleted as local and out-of-town buyers flocked to the area looking for good deals with cheap mortgage loans. It was only a matter of time when competition caused home prices to shoot up, and many homeowners opted to hold onto their properties rather than list them.

5 / 20
Jorge Salcedo // Shutterstock

#16. Boston

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 2,705 (44.1% less than December 2020)
--- 60.6% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 4,661
- Median sale price of homes sold: $619,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 21

There are numerous reasons for the severe decline in housing inventory in Boston that occurred over the last year—including strict permits and zoning regulations in the 1980s and '90s that have led to a lack of available land for developers. These types of issues have kept new home construction rates low in Boston, and the demand has far outweighed the new homes added to the market. Existing housing inventory in the area has largely already been depleted by buyers at the start of the pandemic, yet the demand is still high. Boston buyers continued to purchase homes throughout 2021 at a frenzied pace, and it helped to drive up home prices significantly. The high home prices have deterred homeowners in Boston from listing their homes for sale, as both home purchases and rentals are expensive and hard to come by.

6 / 20
Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

#15. Port St. Lucie, Florida

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,526 (44.1% less than December 2020)
--- 19.9% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 1,139
- Median sale price of homes sold: $345,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 37

The city of Port St. Lucie, Florida, saw a big uptick of new residents in 2021, and with these new residents came a rapid decline in housing inventory. Last year, new residents who moved to Port St. Lucie, located about 110 miles north of Miami, were quick to snatch up the available housing inventory while capitalizing on record-low mortgage rates. However, the rate of new construction in this city couldn’t keep up the pace with the demand, which meant that the for-sale housing inventory declined significantly throughout 2021. And, as with other cities across the nation, rising home prices make it difficult for homeowners to sell their houses and buy another in the competitive market. High housing prices have been a big factor suppressing the amount of inventory.

7 / 20
Trong Nguyen // Shutterstock

#14. Dallas

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 4,455 (44.3% less than December 2020)
--- 52.6% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 5,807
- Median sale price of homes sold: $385,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 21

Developers in Dallas have not built enough new construction housing to keep up with the demand, and that contributed significantly to the decline in for-sale inventory over the last year. While builders have pushed to develop more housing in Dallas, labor shortages and supply chain issues have made it tough to meet the need in this north Texas city. These rising costs have also made it tough for builders to break even or profit on new construction housing, which added to lag in for-sale inventory in Dallas throughout 2021. That, coupled with the city’s high rental and purchase prices, kept many homeowners from listing their homes for sale in this area in 2021. The demand from buyers continued, though, which caused home inventory to become further depleted in Dallas over the last year.

8 / 20
Wendell Guy // Shutterstock

#13. Bridgeport, Connecticut

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,899 (44.9% less than December 2020)
--- 55.0% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 1,319
- Median sale price of homes sold: $495,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 57

Building permit restrictions have left a lasting impact on the current housing inventory in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2021. The land-use restrictions in this area, which limit what types of housing could be built where, made it tough for developers to rapidly scale the number of new construction homes in this area last year. As such, the rate of new construction was limited, which meant that the number of new homes that were added to the market did not keep up with demand. Other factors, like the unexpected uptick in buying in Bridgeport, spurred on by record-low rates at the start of 2021, further contributed to the issue.

9 / 20
Matt Gush // Shutterstock

#12. Los Angeles

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 6,855 (45.8% less than December 2020)
--- 51.3% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 6,799
- Median sale price of homes sold: $835,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 35

There were issues with housing shortages in Los Angeles well before 2021, but the rate of available-for-sale inventory took a major hit last year. A lack of new home construction is a critical reason for the housing crunch as builders, who were facing higher construction material costs and sluggish supply chain issues, were unable to build enough homes to meet the demand. Other issues, like a lack of available land to develop and the skyrocketing prices for rentals and purchases, helped inventory in Los Angeles take a nosedive in 2021.

10 / 20
zimmytws // Shutterstock

#11. Raleigh, North Carolina

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 2,037 (47.0% less than December 2020)
--- 41.6% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 2,345
- Median sale price of homes sold: $395,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 34

The city of Raleigh, North Carolina, was not insulated from the supply chain issues that caused new home construction costs to increase significantly over the last year—and it had a big impact on the availability of for-sale home inventory in the area. Known as the Research Triangle due to the number of technology companies and universities in the area, Raleigh is a popular market for house hunters but the demand for new homes far outweighed the supply. A rental shortage and skyrocketing home prices also made it difficult for Raleigh residents to move and still stay in the area, making the market even more limited.

11 / 20
Gianfranco Vivi // Shutterstock

#10. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 5,935 (47.5% less than December 2020)
--- 31.5% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 3,271
- Median sale price of homes sold: $365,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 48

As with Miami, the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, saw a huge influx of buyers to the area throughout 2021. As buyers poured into the south Florida city, the existing home inventory was depleted—and the sluggish rates of new construction homes in the area only added to the issue. The lack of new construction homes in this area was due to multiple issues, including a lack of land to develop and high materials costs, which discouraged builders from breaking ground on new developments. With little inventory on the market, home prices shot up. Other issues, like high rent prices, also kept owners from listing their existing homes, as they ran the risk of paying more for rent each month than they did for their home mortgage loans.

12 / 20
Arina P Habich // Shutterstock

#9. Denver, Colorado

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,472 (48.1% less than December 2020)
--- 67.6% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 4,625
- Median sale price of homes sold: $540,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 7

New residents poured into all parts of Colorado throughout 2021—and Denver was no exception. As new residents moved to Denver from California and other parts of the nation, the market’s housing inventory quickly depleted. The rates of new home construction were already low in Denver, which led many to feel the crunch even more as housing inventory plummeted last year and prices soared in an overheated market. A record number of real estate investors in the area compounded the problems as professional investors drove up prices in the mid-priced and higher-end home market. This made it tough for individual homebuyers and first-time homeowners to enter the market.

13 / 20
mTaira // Shutterstock

#8. West Palm Beach, Florida

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 5,122 (49.7% less than December 2020)
--- 26.2% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 2,996
- Median sale price of homes sold: $390,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 44

As with the rest of South Florida, there isn’t enough land left to develop in West Palm Beach, and it had a big impact on the available housing inventory in the area throughout 2021. That lack of land, coupled with other issues, like the high construction materials costs, slowed down construction in West Palm Beach to meet the high demand. And, as buyers poured into the Florida city, the existing home inventory was depleted— which caused home and rental prices to shoot up significantly. In turn, many West Palm Beach homeowners became wary of listing their homes for sale, as it would be expensive to find a new home to purchase. As such, the already low rates of home inventory dropped even lower in West Palm Beach last year.

14 / 20
Fotoluminate LLC // Shutterstock

#7. Tampa, Florida

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 3,684 (50.6% less than December 2020)
--- 40.5% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 6,361
- Median sale price of homes sold: $338,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 11

Unlike other areas in southern Florida, Tampa has enough land available to build homes, but the global supply chain issues that arose last year put a damper on development efforts. The lumber shortage and the high construction material costs held back the development of new neighborhoods in the Tampa, Florida, housing market last year. This delay has meant the rate of new construction homes could not keep up with the uptick in buyer demand in Tampa. In turn, the prices of new and existing homes—as well as area rentals—shot upward, furthering the issue with a lack of for-sale homes.

15 / 20
bonandbon // Shutterstock

#6. San Diego

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,279 (54.9% less than December 2020)
--- 66.8% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 3,118
- Median sale price of homes sold: $775,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 12

When it comes to land that can be developed for new housing, the city of San Diego is extremely limited—and it had a big impact on pushing down the housing inventory in 2021. That, coupled with the supply chain issues driving up the costs of construction materials, made it tough for developers to add much new housing inventory to the market in San Diego. A shortage of multifamily properties also added to the issue. And, as with many other areas of the nation, homeowners in San Diego were also hesitant to list their homes for sale last year, as it would have been both expensive and difficult to find either rentals or home purchases in the area.

16 / 20
Fang Deng // Shutterstock

#5. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,014 (55.5% less than December 2020)
--- 45.4% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 1,130
- Median sale price of homes sold: $244,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 27

A slowdown in new home construction caused the for-sale inventory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to decline significantly in 2021. Interest in Baton Rouge has been high since last year, but a materials shortage and high construction prices—as well as a general slowdown of new home construction—meant the demand in this city far outweighed the supply. In turn, the competition was stiff among buyers, and the housing prices shot up. This kept homeowners from listing their properties for sale, as it would have been tough for them to find rentals or home purchases after selling their own homes.

17 / 20
Joni Hanebutt // Shutterstock

#4. Orlando, Florida

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 2,917 (59.0% less than December 2020)
--- 43.4% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 4,440
- Median sale price of homes sold: $356,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 13

Home to several amusement parks and one of the largest convention centers in the U.S., Orlando, Florida, is one of the state’s largest cities that attracts many homebuyers. However, home construction was hindered in Orlando throughout 2021—and it had a big impact on the available housing market inventory. As with many markets across the nation, issues with materials and labor shortages made it tough for builders to keep home prices affordable while breaking even or profiting on sales. This caused slow growth in home construction at a time when buyer demand was at a high. A lack of listings for existing homes further complicated things in Orlando, as homeowners ran the risk of being unable to find adequate and affordable housing after their homes sold.

18 / 20
NAPA // Shutterstock

#3. Anaheim, California

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,651 (61.7% less than December 2020)
--- 64.1% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 2,482
- Median sale price of homes sold: $940,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 31

The limited amount of land available for development in Anaheim, California, had a big impact on the housing market in this area in 2021. Without adequate land options in the populous city—known for its famous attractions including Disneyland and Angel Stadium—developers added few homes last year. Further complicating issues were the supply chain problems that ran rampant across the globe in 2021. These types of issues caused a swift uptick in the cost of materials—and supply shortages slowed down the new home construction landscape even further. That, coupled with a new influx of investors and buyers in Anaheim, kept the demand for home purchases high—and the available inventory low.

19 / 20
Florida Aerial Pics // Shutterstock

#2. North Port, Florida

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,327 (63.7% less than December 2020)
--- 30.9% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 2,304
- Median sale price of homes sold: $417,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 9

Buyers flocked to all parts of Florida in 2021, and North Port was no exception. This sudden influx of buyers depleted the existing housing inventory last year, and the area’s low home development rates didn’t help enough with housing inventory. This area has long attracted retirees and snowbirds, which means North Port has a high concentration of vacation homes and short-term rentals. Owners operate these rental properties for income, which makes them reluctant to put the properties up for sale. Plus, a new influx of retirees and aging residents helped to further deplete the housing inventory in North Port over the last year.

20 / 20
FloridaStock // Shutterstock

#1. Naples, Florida

- Housing for-sale inventory in December 2021: 1,027 (67.4% less than December 2020)
--- 25.7% less than in July 2021
- Homes sold in December 2021: 1,178
- Median sale price of homes sold: $550,000
- Median days home is pending before a sale: 16

Construction supply shortages were rampant in the Naples, Florida, market in 2021—which greatly contributed to the housing inventory shortage in this area. Without access to affordable and available construction materials, builders were unable to close the gap between the supply of new construction homes and the demand by buyers, who flocked to this southwest Florida region in droves last year. The demand also far outweighed supply for existing homes in Naples last year, which drove up home prices. This made it difficult for homeowners to justify selling when they had to turn around and buy in a hot market. Strict zoning and high land prices have contributed to Naples’ real estate fluctuations as well.

This story originally appeared on ZeroDown and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

Trending Now