Buyers in our East Bay region benefited from a modest increase in the number of homes for sale in the second and third quarters of 2013. However, by the fourth quarter, that extra inventory had disappeared, frustrating home shoppers and helping to slow overall sales activity in the region even before the typical holiday-season decline. The tight supply ensured that virtually all homes that were attractive and competitively priced received multiple offers.
Looking Forward: The pace of sales activity in the first quarter of 2014 will depend on the number of homes that hit the market, but we expect that the inventory shortage of the fourth quarter will ease with the coming of spring. Rising prices will encourage more sellers to list their homes, and buyers will be ready. Tightened lending regulations and rising mortgage rates could have an impact, offset by forecasts for strong economic growth in the Bay Area.