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Housing inventory declines in early 2013


Housing inventory declined markedly last month.

With an increasing number of homes sold in the past several months, the total inventory level for the national housing market declined markedly.

Total home listings fell close to 17 percent in February compared to the same month in 2012, according to a report from Zillow. This was exacerbated by the priciest tier of properties, which had inventory fall more than 20 percent in the top 99 markets over the same period.

"The supply of for-sale listings continues to dry up, driven in part by potential sellers trapped in negative equity and homeowners that won't sell out of fear they won't be able to find a suitable home to buy later," said Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow.

Homes in the middle affordability range experienced an inventory drop more than 17 percent in February, while the least expensive homes saw its figure fall more than 9 percent, the report added.

Part of the reason for the inventory decline may be a continued low mortgage rate average. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average was 3.52 percent for the week ending March 7, according to a report from Freddie Mac.

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