The Mystery Of The Missing Housing Inventory For Sale (Elderly Americans Selling Less)

The inventory of existing homes for sale in the US is extremely low. The lack of available inventory to buy is helping drive home prices through the roof.

Available inventory for purchase peaked back in the 2007-2008 period during the dreaded housing bubble in the US. But inventory for sale has declined ever since. Why?

I think it has something to do with the aging of the US population. Look at this chart of Existing Home Sales Inventory against the growth 65+ years old.

Perhaps households 65+ are resisting moving to states like Florida and Arizona as they had in the past, leaving them stationary in their dwelling.

Another reason for the bewildering lack of inventory is the growth of the HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) that allows elderly households to drain the equity in their home rather than have to sell to utilize it. But HECMs have not taken-off sufficiently to explain the mystery of the missing inventory.

So we know that housing inventory is very low and we know that the number of Americans 65 and over is increasing. But we do not know the reason for the decline in inventory.

Jack Guttentag has an excellent write-up in Forbes on the HECM. Particularly with rapidly growing home prices and equity.

T-R-O-U-B-L-E! Apartment Rents UP 33% Over Past Year, Food UP 33%, Heating Oil UP 89% And Gasoline UP 61% (Affordable Housing Policies??)

The Marty Stuart/Travis Tritt song “This One’s Gonna Hurt You (For A Long, Long Time)” seems appropriate for the plight of the middle and lower income classes in the face of high inflation. How do you spell the combination of President Biden’s policies and The Fed’s inaction on inflation? T-R-O-U-B-L-E … for the middle and lower income classes.

Over the past year, since the election of Joe Biden, the household consumption bundle (food, rent, heating, gasoline) have all risen dramatically in terms of prices. Food is up 33%, heating oil is up 89%, regular gasoline is up 61%, and effective apartment rents are up 33%.

Meanwhile, the 1% are sitting high on a mountain top obvious to the pain caused by The Federal Reserve and Biden Administration. Here is the growth in wealth by the 1% since the housing bubble burst and financial crisis compared with the bottom 50%.

A problem facing renters is the rapid growth of home prices particularly since the COVID epidemic. At least M2 Money has “slowed” to 12.80% YoY while home prices are raging at almost 20% YoY. But hopefully home price growth will slow with declining M2 growth.

Compendium of Fed Chair Jerome Powell and President Biden on vacation.