There’s been talk of the Tri-Cities real estate market returning to normal, and in some ways — and some price ranges — that may be true. But when it comes to inventory, it’s just not happening yet.

The Tri-Cities is still seeing much lower inventory (i.e., the amount of available homes for sale) than we have historically.

This chart from Benton-Franklin Trends provides our evidence:

The chart shows housing inventory in Benton and Franklin Counties at different price levels up to $500K. It’s not showing the exact number of homes available, but instead takes the number and converts that number to an estimated “supply of homes” measured by how many months it would take for all homes to sell if no new listings came on the market.

A normal supply in each price range is 5-7 months, but as of Q3 of 2018, these were the supplies in our area:

  • 4.2 months for homes valued at less than $80,000.
  • 1.2 months for homes valued at $80,000-$159,999.
  • 1.2 months for homes valued at $160,000-$249,999.
  • 2.7 months for homes valued at $250,000-$500,000.

The least expensive homes had the best supply, but we were well below the “normal/balanced” number of 5-7 months.

Q3 last year was much better than the previous three quarters, but that may just be normal seasonal activity and not a promise of continued inventory gains. Look at Q3 of 2017 and you’ll see the same spike followed by big drops in available homes.

BF Trends will probably update this chart with Q4 numbers soon so we can see where things are trending. And for a more detailed look, you can also keep an eye on the monthly Tri-Cities real estate market updates that we post on Inventory has been up and down the past few months and not showing any signs of a trend in either direction.