Housing market's for-sale inventory has shrunk

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Homebuyers are back. But they're not finding many for-sale houses to choose from.

This dearth of houses isn't imaginary. In fact, the pool of properties actually has shrunk in housing markets across the nation.

Only 2.32 million existing homes were available for sale in the U.S. at the end of September, according to the National Association of Realtors. That figure represented a 5.9-month supply of for-sale homes at the September pace of sales. The supply would have lasted 8.1 months at the previous year's then-current pace of sales.

So, what happened to all the houses?

Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors in Los Angeles, and Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Carrington Mortgage Holdings, a mortgage company in Aliso Viejo, Calif., offer some answers.

Sellers are on the sidelines. Some homeowners have no reason to move. Others aren't motivated because they would take a loss at current prices or they still owe more than their homes are worth.

"They're not sure what they want to do," Appleton-Young says.

Read on: http://www.mercurynews.com/real-estate/ci_22444488/real-estate-watch-housing-markets-sale-inventory-has