July home sales jump; existing housing inventory shrinks

Home sales jumped in the Wichita area in July, and the inventory of existing homes shrunk to its lowest level this year, according to a sales report released Thursday by the South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service.

The report said 910 homes were sold — 861 existing homes and 49 new homes — compared with 786 in July 2012, a nearly 16 percent increase.

For the year, 5,140 homes have been sold in the area, a nearly 12 percent increase over the 4,606 sold in the same seven-month period last year, the report said.

July also saw the months of inventory for existing homes slip to 3.9 months, which indicates a seller’s market, the report said.

“July was a great, great closing month,” said Gary Walker, vice president and general manager of J.P. Weigand & Sons’ residential division. “The thing that stood out the most to me was the months of inventory dropping. We’re no longer in the borderline area. You get under 4 that’s getting into a strong seller’s market.”

The months of inventory for new homes was 5.5 months. Five to six months of housing inventory is considered a balanced market, a market that favors neither buyers nor sellers.

Walker said it remains to be seen how much of an impact low existing-home inventory will have on the overall home sales market going forward.

“It limits the number of options that buyers have,” he said. “And the ones who don’t have to buy, then they might postpone their buying decision.”